September 21, 2023

Open Court


Mixed doubles draw has national Olympic flavour


The thing about mixed doubles at Wimbledon is that it’s less of an afterthought than at the other majors.

It’s a 48-team draw, for one thing.

They play advantage games, and a full third set.

This year, being an Olympic year, you’ll see a few extra “national”-type teams that will join the mix ahead of Tokyo.

And on the Canadian side, Sharon Fichman’s ranking is now high enough that she can join the party. She will make her Grand Slam mixed doubles debut.

In fact, playing with Marcus Daniell of New Zealand, she’s seeded No. 16.

Fabio Fognini and Sara Errani played together at the Australian Open in 2016. But Fognini ended up playing with Roberta Vinci in Rio.

Gabriela Dabrowski returns with Croatia’s Mate Pavic, the No. 1 men’s doubles player in the world. The two were thwarted in Paris, where they’ve made the final twice, by a late COVID diagnosis for Pavic and his men’s doubles partner, Nikola Mektic.

The Croats had to withdraw from both events. And Dabrowski was left scrambling at the last minute to find a substitute. Which she did, in Aussie Luke Saville. But the two were defeated in the first round

The Dutch team of Rojer and Bertens at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Bertens is playing with Matwe Middelkoop this Wimbledon.

Olympic preparation and a little patriotism

Here are the same-country pairups for the mixed.

[1] Nicolas Mahut and Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)
Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza (IND)
Marton Fucsovics and Timea Babos (HU)
Aslan Karatsev and Elena Vesnina (RUS)
Austin Krajicek and Sabrina Santamaria (USA)
Roman Jebavy and Marketa Vondrousova (CZE)
[5] Rajeev Ram / Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA)
Santiago Gonzalez and Giuliana Olmos (MEX)
Ben McLachlan and Ena Shibahara (JPN)
Joe Salisbury and Harriet Dart (GBR)
[3] Wesley Koolhoff and Demi Schuurs (NED)
Matwe Middelkoop and Kiki Bertens (NED)
Marcelo Demoliner and Luisa Stefani (BRA)
Matt Ebden and Samantha Stosur (AUS)

Most of the teams won’t get into the Olympics, which has a 16-team draw with only singles players eligible.

Still, it’s kind of fun to see a little national spirit.

It’s unfortunate not to see, say, Iga Swiatek and Hubert Hurkacz in the draw Because they would surely get in, in Tokyo.

Swiatek played with Lukasz Kubot at the Australian Open.

The Polish team of Swiatek and Kubot got together at the Australian Open, but aren’t playing at Wimbledon.

It’s also too bad that Bianca Andreescu and Félix Auger-Aliassime didn’t team up. But Auger-Aliassime has singles aspirations, and so isn’t even playing men’s doubles. (Andreescu didn’t enter the women’s doubles, either, and was eliminated in the first round of singles Wednesday by Alizé Cornet).

Kyrgios and Williams headline the mixed

Kyrgios revealed over the weekend, after putting out the tenders on Twitter, that he’d play the mixed doubles with the immortal Venus Williams.

Their first-round opponents are Americans Austin Krajicek and Sabrina Santamaria, who probably won’t have played in front of this size of a crowd in quite awhile.

Rajeev Ram and Venus Williams won a silver medal in Rio.

Williams played mixed at the 2016 Olympics in Rio with Rajeev Ram, and won a silver medal. They lost to Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jack Sock.

Mattek-Sands and Ram are in the Wimbledon draw.

Notably absent is Jamie Murray, who has teamed up with Mattek-Sands for recent Grand Slam tournaments and who has won the Wimbledon mixed before.

Best Wimbledon mixed doubles pic ever – a blast from the past as Marcelo Melo does his best Stan Laurel imitation with a very young Alizé Cornet. they lost to Nicole Vaidisova and Lukas Dlouhy in three sets.

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