Doubles trouble: Former LSU standout Neal Skupski captures first Wimbledon doubles title

Former LSU tennis standout Neal Skupski (left) captured his first men's doubles championship Saturday at Wimbledon. PHOTO BY: ATP Tour

WIMBLEDON, England – Former LSU men’s tennis great Neal Skupski and his doubles partner Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands earned their first major title together after claiming the 2023 Wimbledon doubles titles with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Spain’s Marcel Granollers and Argentinian Horacio Zeballos on Saturday.

Skupski, a native of Liverpool, England, claimed his first major title in men’s doubles in front of his home nation to become only the second Englishman to win Wimbeldon doubles in the “Open” era of the tournament (1969) and first since 2012 when Jonathan Murray and his partner claimed the honor.

“I don’t know what to say. This feeling at the moment doesn’t get any better,” Skupski said. “Me and Wesley came together and this year it was one of our goals to win a Grand Slam. Now that we’ve done it, it feels very special.”

The major victory is the first for the pair, who began teaming together only 18 months ago. The duo has had tremendous success in doubles since playing together, rising as high as No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings last season, but had yet to claim a major title together. Prior to Saturday, the closest came was at the 2022 US Open, where the pair fell in the finals.

The pair was ranked as the No. 1 seed in the doubles draw and showed their dominance throughout the doubles draw, claiming straight set victories in rounds one through three. In the quarterfinals against Uruguay’s Ariel Behar and the Czech Republic’s Adam Pavlasek, the pair overturned a first set defeat to come from behind and claim a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win to advance to the semifinal. In that semifinal, the top ranked pair defeated the No. 6-seeded duo of Rohan Bopanna from India and Matthew Ebden of Australia in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4.

The final on Saturday saw the pair continue their dominant form, only having to hold one break point in the entire match. The break point came in the second set, but the pair held on against it and then broke to take a decisive 3-2 lead in the set. The winning moment came as Skupski served to Granollers, whose return sailed past Skupski on the back line to give the pair the final point needed for glory.

While it was his first major in men’s doubles, Skupski is no stranger to titles at Wimbledon. He claimed his first Wimbledon title in 2021 in the mixed doubles competition alongside Desirae Krawczyk and the pair went on to repeat the honor in 2022. With the win on Saturday, he became the first Englishman to claim both a mixed and men’s title at Wimbledon since Leslie Godfree in 1926.

He becomes only the second former Tiger to claim a men’s doubles major title and the first since Michael Venus won the doubles draw at the French Open in 2017. Skupski represented the Purple & Gold for four years from 2008-2012 in a decorated career that saw him earn ITA Doubles All-American honors twice in 2009 and 2011. While at LSU, he played under head coach Jeff Brown and received coaching from then-assistant coach Danny Bryan. Bryan recently returned to Baton Rouge as the head coach of the men’s tennis program in 2022.

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