Wimbledon win for Venus, loss for Routliffe

Sunday, 09 July 2023

There was a win for Michael Venus and an unexpected loss for Erin Routliffe at Wimbledon on Sunday.

Venus and Jamie Murray defeated Alexander Erler and Lucas Miedler, both from Austria, 6-7 7-6 6-3 in the match that opened Court 12, but Venus then pulled out of the mixed doubles with an elbow problem and their spot in the draw was taken by Routliffe and Jason Kubler from Australia.

Routliffe and Kubler put up a good fight against Argentina’s Marcelo Arevalo and Marta Kostyuk from Ukraine, but lost 7-5 6-2.

As for Venus’s match, he said it was one they had to battle through.

“The first two service games we had, I went to deuce on my service game and Jamie was 15-40 on his service game, but once we got through that we were holding quite comfortably,” Venus said. 

“We created that chance at 5-6, 0-40 and they then had some good first serves.

“We lost those five points, then went down 4-0 in the tiebreaker pretty quickly. 

“I thought we did a great job to get back on serve, but unfortunately we lost the end of that tiebreaker (7-5).

“The second set, I feel like they were going through their service games a lot easier than we were. We were making a few errors, but when we did we tried to bounce back and play a good point.

“It got to the tiebreaker and I felt like that turned things and gave us more energy. 

"Starting that third set, as you can see in all of these matches, it comes down to a few points, so you’ve got to stay sharp and when that opportunity presents itself, be ready.

“It just happened that at 4-3, we both played a really good game returning and things synced up nicely. For us, it couldn’t have happened at a better time.”

This was Venus’s second match this week on Court No 12, the fifth biggest at Wimbledon and he believes that gives him an unusual achievement. 

“We were speaking before the tournament started and that may have been the only court I had never played on,” he said.

“I don’t know if I’d be able to go back and check, but I think it ticks off every court here for me, which is pretty cool.

“Obviously, the support Jamie gets here is great. It was a great atmosphere to play in and it’s nice having so many people cheering us on and being behind us.

“In those tight matches, where it comes down to a few points, that little bit can lift you and get you over the line.”

Venus had a long and uneventful day at Wimbledon on Saturday, as he was scheduled to play his first round mixed doubles. However, following Carlos Alcaraz’s epic match against Nicolas Jarry, which went for almost four hours, by the time Andreescu entered Centre Court for her match against Ons Jabeur, it was already late and once the third set had begun, his match was officially cancelled for the day.

“Everyone’s waiting around and there’s not that many free spaces to fully relax,” Venus said. 

“We had a board game with us, so we played that to pass the time. Once I saw Carlos’s match go so long, I pretty much knew we weren’t going to play at that point.

“Bianca didn’t go on until 6pm. So even if it was a straight set match, by the time she took some time, had some food and got ready again, it would have been too dark to play.”

Meanwhile, Routliffe and Kubler were told just 10 minutes before expected to be on court that they were replacing Venus and Andreescu in the mixed doubles draw.

Routliffe asked if they could have more time, but that request was turned down.

“Once I got called, I asked if we could have 20-30 minutes to eat, but they said no. Apparently it’s a very strict thing,” Routliffe said.

It was a match that entertained the big crowd on Court No 3 and despite being on the losing side, Routliffe said she enjoyed it.

“It was our first time playing together and it was really fun,” she said. 

“I liked playing with Jason, we know each other really well, because he’s dating one of my best friends. 

“So it was already comfortable, which was nice, because a lot of the time when you play mixed, you don’t know the man at all and that’s tough.

“We had our chances. We both could have returned better. I thought I served pretty well.

“If we can play together another time, or if we can get our rankings up and not worry about [making the cut], we can be good together. Mixed is very different, it’s weird. But it was fun and I’m glad I got to play, because I really wanted to.”

On Tuesday Venus and Murray will play the winner of the match between Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Adrian Mannarino against Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski for a place in the quarterfinals.

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