IT was, said Serena Williams, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The 23-time Grand Slam winner has seen and done everything there is to do in the sport, but for one week only she had got to walk in the shoes of Andy Murray at Wimbledon.

“Andy gets asked every question about his body and the US Open,” said Serena, as the pair hammed it up in the interview room yesterday. “Literally every question - in a different way, but it’s the same question. It’s nice because I love him having all the attention. It’s such a relief.”

Murena, SerAndy, call it what you want, it ultimately only lasted just a couple of rounds - a 3-6, 6-4, 2-6 defeat to No 1 seeds Bruno Soares and Nicole Melichar out on Court No 2 made sure of that.

But the theme of things afterwards was one of celebration, no matter how out of keeping that seemed with these two uber-focused individuals. “We don’t usually celebrate after losing,” the Scot admitted.

“We’re celebrating the fact that we’re feeling better,” was Serena’s take on it. “We had so much fun. We aren’t ready for it to be over. But we both are obviously focused on our health, taking it one day at a time.

“To play on this stage with Andy, who has done so well here for so many years, is literally just a lifetime experience. I’m so happy that I got to experience it.”

While Serena has the last four of the singles to sustain her, it is now that the hard work starts for Murray. Next week will be one of rigorous physical testing, determining how much his conditioning has improved in the course of the last ten days.

Then it is a case of building up the muscles around that metal hip, and starting the work towards a singles return. Assuming another set of tests holds up okay after four to six weeks of work, he could be emboldened enough to step on a singles court for the first time.

With the US hard court swing apparently out of the question, as luck would have it, there is a hard-court event at Scotstoun in Glasgow around that time which just happens to be called the Murray Trophy in his family’s honour.

“It’s a lot of physical work now, trying to get stronger really and get a good balance with all of the muscles around my hip,” he said. “I think I’m doing some physical testing next week. I did some pre-Queen’s too. It will be interesting to see what’s happened these last four weeks where I’ve been obviously playing tennis but doing not much training, to see how things have progressed or not.

“Then I’ll do four to six weeks of training,” he added. “Then I’ll have some testing done after that again. Hopefully I will have progressed again. But I’ve still got, like I said, quite a long way to go.”

Forget whether he can train the same way he used to, every bit as much of a question when he eventually makes that return is whether he will be able to play the same way he used to. All that scurrying around the baseline can take a toll on your joints but re-inventing his whole game style would be a challenge.

“I would like to play the way that I always played because it’s been successful,” he said. “Or I could go out and serve and volley every point, keep points short, lose in the first round every week. You need to find the right way of playing that would be good for your body but also allows you to be competitive and win matches. I’ll only really know once I get back out there and start doing it.

“There’s things I need to change, change and adapt,” he added. “But from watching the bits that I have watched recently, I don’t feel like the game has changed a whole lot. Maybe when I get out there, it will have done.”

One thing that has changed in the sport is the in-fighting on the ATP Tour, with the players council apparently riven over whether Justin Gimelstob has any role to play going forward. “The whole situation is a shame really,” he said. “It just seems like there’s so much infighting in the sport. I don’t feel like that should be the case just now, because tennis is doing really well. There should be lots of positive things happening, positive discussions about how to drive the sport forwards and improve

“It just seems like so many different people, organisations, are fighting, not coming together to try to find solutions. You want that to change really. I’d like to see a little bit more unity. Once that’s the case, then you can start to move forward.”

This entertaining diversion ended with each part of this superstar pairing being asked what they learned about each other? Well, while Serena had loved the Scot’s “spirit”, the fact he is so “calm and chilled”, the Scot had simply seen first hand someone with as much will to win as he does.

“Just the fact that she was so into it, so competitive - that was cool,” he said. “Some people might just see it as being maybe mixed doubles - we’re playing it to have fun and get matches. But there was a genuine desire and will to win, which I would have expected to have been the case, but I didn’t know that about her.”