Nicholls hails mixed doubles relationship with Patten at Wimbledon

Olivia Nicholls believes her close connection with mixed doubles partner Henry Patten propelled them to a battle of the Brits triumph at Wimbledon.

The Norwich tennis star, 29, joined forces with Manningtree player and old friend Patten to beat Julian Cash and Maia Lumsden in the first round on Monday afternoon.

The dynamic duo clinched a 7-5 7-6 (5) victory in front of a bumper home crowd on Court 18.

The East Anglian pairing go back many years and Nicholls, who was knocked out of the women’s doubles the day before, reckons their tight relationship reaped rewards.

“We feel great and had a lot of fun out there today,” she said.

“We’ve known each other for a really long time so I think it helps when you feel comfortable with the person on court you’re playing with.

“We enjoyed ourselves out there and our games were complimenting each other really well.

“Henry was serving great, I was returning well and we’re excited for the next match.

“We’re great friends off the court – it was good fun to play against them and played in a good spirit.”

On Sunday, Nicholls’ hopes in the women’s doubles came to an end as her and Tereza Mihalíková lost to ninth seeds Jeļena Ostapenko and Lyudmyla Kichenok.

The reigning Eastbourne champions battled from behind to clinch a 3-6 6-2 6-3 victory and dash Nicholls’ hopes of reaching a maiden Grand Slam quarter-final.

Nicholls said: “It wasn’t so much about what went wrong – they just stepped it up a bit in the second and third set.

“It was really tough to play against – they’re a great team, came in with confidence and we just came up against an in-form team.”

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