By Tony Fairbairn
- Britwatch looks back at the doubles season in 2022 which saw Neal Skupski become part of the best team in the world, Joe Salisbury continued his success with Rajeev Ram while Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls broke through on the WTA tour.
LONDON, ENGLAND – It was an eventful season in the doubles world with Neal Skupski becoming the best in the world, Joe Salisbury ending the season on a high and Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls breaking through on the WTA tour.
The doubles season didn’t disappoint from a British perspective in 2022 with a number of highs and lows. Now let’s reflect on the successes from this season and how this year’s results can influence and shape an exciting 2023 season.
(1) Neal Skupski becomes the best in the world
It has been quite the season for Neal Skupski with the Brit having a dominant season as he ended the year as part of the best team in the world alongside Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof. Skupski started the season at number 20 in the world but the Brit’s highly successful partnership with Koolhof has seen him as the joint world number one.
The pairing claimed seven titles this season as well as reaching the US Open final as they have comfortably been the best team on the tour this season. The duo will look to cap off their successful partnership so far as they aim to win a Grand Slam title when they head to the Australian Open in January.
(2) Joe Salisbury’s continued success
Although he may not have been the best British doubles player this season, Joe Salisbury has continued his successful partnership with Rajeev Ram this year. The pair claimed four titles this season including the US Open title where they beat Koolhof and Skupski in the final. Momentum is on Ram and Salisbury’s side heading into next season as they ended the 2022 season with victory at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.
Now Salisbury will look to recapture his British number one crown next season as he looks to chase more titles and keep up his consistent form over the last couple of years.
(3) Barnett and Nicholls breakthrough on WTA tour
Another big story on the doubles tour this season is the rise of Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls. The British duo started the season outside the world’s top 150 but a year later they are now inside the world’s top 70 having won a couple of ITF titles as well as reaching a WTA final.
However their best moment of the year was their doubles triumph in the Billie Jean King Cup where they defeated Aliona Bolsova and Rebeka Masarova to seal Great Britain’s place in the semi-finals. They will now look to use their ranking to play more WTA events and will have the belief that they can cause some trouble at Grand Slams and improve their ranking even further in 2023.
(4) Glasspool reaches maiden ATP Finals
Another player who had a breakthrough season on the doubles circuit was Lloyd Glasspool with the Brit qualifying for his first ever Nitto ATP Finals alongside Finnish player Harri Heliovaara. The Brit started the season at 78 in the world but a strong consistent season has seen him be on the verge of the world’s top ten.
Glasspool reached seven finals this season including a title in Hamburg and reached two Grand Slam quarter-finals, which should give him and Heliovaara the confidence and momentum to achieve better things next season. A strong performance in 2023 and it would be hard not to put him in the conversation for next year’s Davis Cup team.
(5) What’s next for Jamie Murray after Soares retirement?
One player who didn’t have the best season in 2022 was Jamie Murray who was only able to win one title and reach one final with partner Bruno Soares, who has now retired from professional tennis. Unable to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final this year, Murray will be hoping to have a better season next year without the Brazilian next year.
It would appear Murray will start next season with Portuguese doubles player Francisco Cabral but the question remains if the duo can become an instant success and compete for the biggest titles on the ATP tour.
(6) Cash and Patten cruise through Challenger circuit
Lastly a brief mention goes to British doubles pairing Julian Cash and Henry Patten who cruised through the Challenger tour in 2022. The pair won nine Challenger events in the last six months of the year and currently sit inside the world’s top 80 in the world.
It won’t be long before Cash and Patten become a regular success on the ATP tour and compete regularly at the world’s biggest events. Now they will hope to continue their consistency into next year as they deal with the expectation of becoming one of the hottest doubles teams on the ATP circuit.
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