Venus Williams and Nick Kyrgios are playing mixed doubles together at Wimbledon.
For the 26-year-old Kyrgios, the team-up will fulfill his longtime dream of playing alongside the seven-time Grand Slam-winning Williams.
But the way Kyrgios went about getting Williams on board to fulfill that dream was through a quick, casual, charming proposal.
The ESPN Wimbledon announcer Chrissie Evert told the story of how Kyrgios initially pitched the partnership to Williams as they sat near each other before the tournament.
“He whispered across to her, ‘mixed?’” Evert said during the ESPN broadcast. “She told us she was like, ‘Me? Sure!’”
Kyrgios’ recruitment method resembled that of a high-school prom proposal but definitely on the more subtle side, as it didn’t involve a giant cardboard sign or an invited audience.
Kyrgios handled himself particularly coolly considering the stakes. He said teaming up with Williams was “a dream come true.”
“She’s obviously a legend,” Kyrgios said in a news conference. “To see her still gracing the courts of Wimbledon, winning matches at 41 – at 41, I don’t think I’ll be able to honestly hit another ball. She’s a legend.”
Kyrgios has made 26 Grand Slam appearances, and Williams has participated in almost every one of them. But he wasn’t able to get her as a doubles partner until this year.
“We’ve been planning to play for a while now at Grand Slams. It just never worked out,” Kyrgios said. “I’m not sure how long she’ll play for, so before she kind of gives it up, I do want to experience playing with one of the Williams sisters in mixed doubles. Honestly, that’s like a dream come true for me.”