Find out why it’s worth making time to watch Doubles at a Grand Slam tournament.
This is a guest article by Liz Curran who is currently attending Roland Garros 2013. Follow her on Twitter @lizcurran
I wanted to say a little bit about watching doubles tennis.
Doubles often plays second fiddle to the main singles competition but it really does have a lot to offer. On a purely practical level if your favourite player goes out of singles, and let’s face it we lose 50% of the field each round, if they are also in the doubles then you get a second chance to see them play. You may even see them for a third time if they throw their hat in the mixed doubles ring too.
Believe me when you are from Great Britain with fairly thin representation at the higher levels of tennis then we, or I certainly, jump at the chance to see our players try their hand in the doubles too. The upside of singles taking priority is that you have the opportunity to see a lot of doubles up close as they are usually scheduled on the outside courts throughout the tournament until the very latter rounds (final and semi finals). This is a real bonus – you can watch some amazing players and grand slam champions from literally metres away. Plus watching doubles is fun. It’s fast and furious and very entertaining and it’s often played in a really friendly and generous spirit.
Sam Stosur and Francesca Shiavone
To illustrate these points this week I have particularly loved watching Sam Stosur and Francesca Schiavone – both Grand Slam champions in their own right – three times as they teamed up to play doubles together. What a privilege!
It was great to see their shot making as well as their genial camaraderie on court together. They lost in the third round to the tough pairing of Cara Black and Marina Erakovic, but at least there is still antipodean interest left in the womens doubles draw.
I also loved seeing KDK (Kimiko Date-Krumm) for the first time live playing doubles too. KDK is 42 and I’m told she is revered in Japan. She is amazing and looked delightful on court. She played doubles with Heather Watson last year – they reached the final in Osaka (where Heather won her first WTA title) and that must have been a smile fest given how smiley they both are.
And it’s always a pleasure to watch Feliciano Lopez close up even though on this occasion he sent my favourites Colin Fleming and Jonny Marray (reigning Wimbledon doubles champion) out of the doubles in the first round on a miserable wet cold rain delay plagued Thursday last week.
Then you have the doubles specialists who play doubles together all year round and who hope to end up in the top 8 and playing the world tour finals showcase event, currently held in London at the O2 Arena in November.
Mark Lopez and Marcel Granollers (M&M) v Troiki and Seppi
These would include Mark Lopez and Marcel Granollers (M&M in shorthand) who are a delight to watch given their high level of skill. I would challenge anyone to watch one of their matches and not be in awe at some of the points. Yesterday they played Troiki and Seppi, both good singles players, and no matter how hard they tried and no matter what amazing shots they achieved, the pair opposite tended to win the point.
Troiki was particularly funny, expressive and generous on court after such points.
I enjoyed that.
He didn’t give up at all but it was fairly clear who the winners were likely to be.
I do wish that the TV companies that show tennis would realise that there is an audience for doubles too as it is rarely televised or even mentioned. It’s a secret treat and I would encourage those of you who haven’t ventured much into doubles to have a look and see what you think.
Until next time