Andy Murray ‘extremely disappointed’ in Emma Raducanu pulling out of mixed doubles

Emma Raducanu - Emma Raducanu pulls out of mixed doubles with Andy Murray

Emma Raducanu is through to the fourth round in the singles, where she is due on court on Sunday – PA/Mike Egerton

Andy Murray is understood to be extremely disappointed by Emma Raducanu’s decision to bring his Wimbledon career to an early close by withdrawing from their mixed-doubles match. Judy Murray said Raducanu’s withdrawal was “astonishing”.

Murray and Raducanu had been scheduled to face Marcelo Arevalo and Shuai Zhang in Saturday’s final slot on No1 Court but Raducanu said on Saturday lunchtime that she was withdrawing due to stiffness in her wrist. Through her withdrawal, Raducanu put a sudden and controversial end to Murray’s storied Wimbledon career.

The decision has put her at odds with the first family of British tennis, with Murray himself thought to be disappointed, while Judy posted on social media “Yes, astonishing” in response to a tweet about the news.

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Murray said goodbye to Wimbledon after losing alongside his brother, Jamie, on Thursday but had been expected to play at least one more match, alongside Raducanu.

Given a packed schedule there was obviously a risk that Saturday’s mixed doubles match would finish late, thus affecting Raducanu’s preparation for her fourth-round singles match on Sunday.

But there must also be a question about why she accepted the invitation in the first place, when she is generally so cautious about her workload and her recovery.

Raducanu: ‘I’ve got to take care’

In explaining her decision to withdraw, Raducanu said “Unfortunately I woke up with some stiffness in my right wrist this morning, so therefore I have decided to make the very tough decision to withdraw from the mixed doubles tonight. I’m disappointed as I was really looking forward to playing with Andy but got to take care.”

The explanation makes a certain amount of sense, as Raducanu missed seven months of the 2023 season after surgery on both wrists, but there was still a sense that this was a tactical decision that stemmed from scheduling pressure.

In an ideal world, Murray and Raducanu would have been placed earlier on Saturday’s schedule – but the delays caused by the showery weather of the past week have created a backlog of tennis.

Their opponent Arevalo was due to finish his own second-round men’s doubles match on Saturday morning, which made it difficult for the All England Club to fit everything in.

The late withdrawal left Murray with no time to find an alternative partner, the upshot being that Rajeev Ram and Katie Volynets have come in to fill the vacant slot in the mixed doubles draw.

On Wednesday, Raducanu was asked about her decision to accept Murray’s invitation to join him in the mixed-doubles draw. In her reply, she admitted that her advisors had been unsure about the wisdom of accepting.

“In my team, they were asking me, ‘Emma, are you sure you want to play? Just in case … You’re still in the tournament,’” Raducanu said. “I was like ‘No-brainer’.”

She added: “I think that -Murray’s invitation to play] gave me so much energy, and just knowing that I’d be able to have that opportunity and experience, it made me so happy and I slept very peacefully and woke up very happy as well.”

On Friday, Raducanua said of her doubles match with Murray: “The scheduling of that was not ideal. It’s just an amazing opportunity to be able to play with him. It’s something that I’m going to cherish.”

Difficulty of combining doubles and singles success

There are precious few examples of players experiencing success in both singles and mixed doubles in Wimbledon history. The peerless Martina Navratilova was the last to win both simultaneously, climbing the mountain in 1985, having paired with Paul McNamee. She took the singles title again the following year but lost in the final of the mixed doubles with Heinz Günthardt.

The only other women in history to pull off that particular double was Ann Jones in 1969 (doubles with Fred Stolle) and Billie Jean King in 1973 (doubles with Owen Davidson).

Several have tried and failed since. If we dial down our expectations to deep runs in both events, we could point to singles quarter-finalist Mary Pierce winning the mixed doubles with Mahesh Bhupathi in 2005, or Yaroslava Shvedova in 2016 reaching the quarter-finals in singles and a semi-final in the mixed in 2016. This particular double has proved too tall an order even for Serena Williams, who won the mixed in 1998, four years before she won her first Wimbledon.

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