Brits eye another Grand Slam doubles run at Australian Open
British singles interest at the Australian Open fizzled out last week when Dan Evans fell in the third round of the men’s competition.
But hope is not lost at this year’s tournament as the recent trend of British Grand Slam doubles success remains on course to be extended into 2022.
Brits have made up or been part of four Grand Slam doubles titles in the last three major events.
Briton Joe Salisbury and American Desirae Krawczyk won the US Open mixed doubles while Salisbury and US star Rajeev Ram won the men’s competition at Flushing Meadows – beating Jamie Murray in the final.
It was Neal Skupski and Krawczyk who came out on top in the Wimbledon mixed doubles, in a final featuring three Brits. While at last year’s French Open the Krawczyk and Salisbury duo was again successful.
What this means is that success at this year’s Australian Open could achieve a fourth consecutive Grand Slam doubles title involving Brits.
The four years preceding 2021 saw just five titles involving British players – including a pair from Jamie Murray and Martina Hingis in 2017.
The doubles circuit has been a prosperous one for British tennis players at a time when the singles one hasn’t.
Skupski this year features in the men’s doubles quarter-finals alongside his Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof, while Salisbury and Ram are also in the last eight.
In their next match, Skupski and Koolhof will go up against unseeded home hopes Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell, and could meet Salisbury and Ram in the semi-final.
Two-time Grand Slam winner Salisbury and his partner must overcome the Italian pairing of Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fogini.
The men’s doubles has become a hotly contested competition among the majors, and as ever there are brilliant singles players who tend to take part.
Fognini catches the eye as someone who’s transitioned to doubles well but the star name who has lit up the draw is Australia’s own Nick Kyrgios.
The wildcard pairing of Kyrgios and compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis won their quarter-final tie against sixth seed duo Tim Puetz and Michael Venus early on Tuesday morning.
Back to the Brits, though, it hasn’t all been plain sailing.
Heather Watson fell at the first round stage of the women’s doubles while Salisbury and Skupski failed to make it past their opening matches alongside their respective partners in the mixed competition.
The British contingent of Jonny O’Mara, Dom Inglot, Ken Skupski and Lloyd Glasspool all fell in the second round of the men’s doubles, while Jamie Murray lost in the third.
What is astonishing is the number of competitive doubles players the country has produced, many of whom have teamed up with partners from outside of the UK.
The Brits are still in with a shout at the doubles in Melbourne this week and Salisbury and Skupski will each be looking to extend Britain’s winning streak.