By Tyler Martin
Special to The Tuscaloosa News
Before the first round draw for mixed doubles at Wimbledon, former University of Alabama standout Alexa Guarachi thought of all the possibilities for her and her partner’s first-round matchup.
There was one matchup with two giants of the sport, Serena Williams and Andy Murray, that kept racing through her mind.
“I saw Andy signing him and Serena up for the draw and later on I joked with my boyfriend about how amazing the opportunity would be to play against them,” Guarachi said. “It would be like a dream.”
Roughly 10 minutes or so before Guarachi’s first-round women’s doubles match, she was informed of her mixed doubles pairing, and her dream was a reality.
Guarachi and her partner, Andreas Mies, drew Williams and Murray in the first round on Centre Court.
“There were so many emotions I was feeling before the match,” Guarachi said. “I wanted to make sure I could hold my own and I did not want to make a fool of myself. You kept thinking that you are about to face two of the greatest tennis players of all time and you cannot let that affect your play.”
Guarachi and Mies had never played together, but both share a connection to Alabama. Guarachi played at the University of Alabama from 2010-2013. Mies played at Auburn University from 2009-2012. Mies was coming off a French Open doubles title just two weeks prior.
As decorated singles players, Williams and Murray were competing for the first time together in mixed doubles as well. Their talented partnership was to much for Guarachi and Mies, winning the match in two sets, 6-4, 6-1.
“During the match at first, I was very nervous,” Guarachi said. “It turned out my partner was too, and that was encouraging and made me feel better. As the match went on, we were both able to settle down and get zoned in. We both began to enjoy the moment and play hard in a competitive match.”
Although Guarachi’s run at Wimbledon was short, the time spent in London is an experience she will savor for the rest of her life.
“This has to be the highlight of my career,” Guarachi said. “One day I will be able to tell my children and grandchildren that I played two legends on the biggest stage in the sport. It truly was a once in a lifetime experience.”
Guarachi is No. 66 in the WTA’s Doubles rankings.