Doubles was always going to be a tricky proposition in the age of the pandemic, with on-court proximity between players a concern. However, a couple of events last week in different parts of the world showed that teamwork does, in fact, make the dream work.
PEACE AND KINDNESS BOTH PREVAIL
The Volvo Car Open, one of the showcases of the spring clay-court stretch on the WTA Tour, was unfortunately canceled this year. However, a special team event brought professional action back to Charleston, S.C., with doubles playing a major role in the outcome.
At the Credit One Bank Invitational, Team Peace, captained by former five-time doubles major champion Bethanie Mattek-Sands, took on Team Kindness, led by Madison Keys. Each squad featured eight players competing in both singles and doubles.
In one of the matches, Monica Puig and Leylah Fernandez, representing Team Kindness, showed they had all the right moves.
.@leylahfernandez and @MonicaAce93 pulling out the magic tricks. ????— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) June 29, 2020
The doubles pair took the shot of the day at the @CreditOneBank Invitational. #CreditOneBankInvitational pic.twitter.com/MEhRjABaQB
Sloane Stephens and Shelby Rogers picked up some points for Team Kindness, too.
However, they couldn’t catch up to Team Peace. It was only fitting that Mattek-Sands was on court to clinch it all for her squad as she and Sofia Kenin defeated Victoria Azarenka and Amanda Anisimova.
The five-time women’s Grand Slam champ excelled in her role as captain, getting the most out of some unexpected combos. The players relished being back on court, while also getting to raise money for charity, too.
Here’s an interesting bit of rankings-news: In the men’s doubles standings, it’s Great Britain that’s leading the way, with eight of its players in the top 100, more than any other nation.
Several of them showed up for the inaugural Battle of the Brits competition in Roehampton, England, organized by Jamie Murray. While the former world No. 1 and his partner, Neal Skupski, lived up to their place in the draw by reaching the final, their opponents were probably the most unlikely pair to get that far.
Dan Evans, the singles champion at the event, and Lloyd Glasspool—both ranked well outside of the Top 100 in doubles—gave Murray and Skupski all they could handle.
In the end, Murray and Skupski prevailed. Teaming up in 2019, the duo reached the semifinals of the US Open and won a Challenger title last year, with their best showings in 2020 coming in Adelaide and Montpellier, as they advanced to the semifinals at both events.