One break in each set saw the top seeds overcome an aggressive start from the Spanish-Argentinian duo to claim their first Grand Slam title as a team. The win meant Skupski joined Jonathan Marray as the only Brits to win the competition in the open era.
Speaking after the match the Brit admitted he was left ‘speechless’ after the victory after a lot of hard work with Koolhof over the last 18 months.
“Amazing. It’s something that, yeah, I’m speechless really. Something I never thought would ever happen,” Skupski said in the press conference.
“Me and Wesley came together 18 months ago now. Started January 2022. We didn’t think about this when we were starting together. It was more like starting with 250 level, 500. Managed to win seven titles last year. Obviously things had to change because we made world No. 1 last year at the end of November.
“Yeah, the goal this year was to win a Grand Slam. Obviously done well in previous Grand Slams, making the quarterfinals. Obviously last year US Open final. But now to call ourselves Grand Slam champions in the men’s doubles, amazing achievement for not just us but the whole team. Put a lot of work in. Yeah, just an amazing feeling right now.”
An incredible feat from the duo after the pair had reached the US Open final last year and ended last season as the best pairing in the world. The win also means Skupski is the first British player since Fred Perry to win three consecutive titles having won two mixed doubles in previous years with Desirae Krawczyk.
However the Brit admitted that’s not something he is thinking too much as he enjoys his success at SW19.
“No, not really. I mean, honestly didn’t really think about it,” Skupski claimed after the match.
“Yeah, once that was over, obviously my attentions turned to — I was always focused on winning the men’s doubles here. I think maybe losing the mixed first round might have helped me. Obviously if I’d gone through in the mixed doubles, I might have been more tired here. With the rain, it would have been more congested, my schedule.
“Yeah, amazing achievement, when you said about Fred Perry, the last person to win three in a row. But, yeah, it’s nothing that I was thinking about coming into the event. It was more thinking about me and Wesley, what we were going to do. Tactics have changed a little bit on the grass. It seemed to be working, especially in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
“The faster courts of Queen’s. I think we come into Wimbledon with seven matches under our belt, where other teams obviously faltered in earlier rounds, other events. We had Eastbourne off. Came here. The team around us have done an amazing job. Couldn’t thank them enough. Obviously it’s nice personally to win three in a row.”
Skupski had a full team of support including his brother and former doubles specialist Ken Skupski. However it was a close call as his brother went to Ibiza just before the final and had to take a later flight.
Speaking after the win, Skupski was thankful for his brother’s return and detailed what the key was to success today.
“He did go to Ibiza for probably 14 hours and came back,” Skupski recalled.
“After the semifinal, he drove back straightaway after the semifinal, back to Liverpool. Obviously took four or five hours. Got back around I think 11:00. Had a 2 a.m. alarm. Drove to Manchester airport with his family. Got to Ibiza around 9:30. Enjoyed the day there. Had a 1 a.m. flight this morning back from Ibiza that was delayed a couple of hours. Got into Gatwick at 4:30 a.m. Slept in a pod at Gatwick airport. Got the car at 9 a.m. here.
“I knew for a long time he was going to Ibiza. He always said, If you make the final, I’m coming back. I don’t know if he ever believed that I’d make the final. But, yeah, amazing for him. Unbelievable commitment. Obviously he doesn’t get family time that often. He’s on tour with me. On holiday.
“Yeah, obviously I said to him after the match, I couldn’t thank him enough for coming back. It just felt like a normal team environment like it has been for the last two weeks. He can enjoy family time now and come back whenever he wants to now.
“Yeah, I mean, for me personally, this was a little bit different to the US Open. We had a day off compared to the US Open. I just felt like us as a team, we were a lot more relaxed today. The team was more relaxed. Everyone knew their jobs.
“We were able to scout. We knew the job at hand. I think we put it down to a T today. We served unbelievable. It’s the best I think we’ve served all week. Yeah, just the team chemistry, the energy from both of us, the box, has been incredible for the past two weeks. It’s definitely helped us get over the line.”
Finally the last word goes to Koolhof who had a sensation tournament himself as the Dutchman claimed his second Grand Slam title. After the Dutchman spoke about what makes the Brit such a great doubles partner and said Skupski’s Centre Court experience proved crucial today.
“I think Neal obviously is an amazing player, especially on the grass,” Koolhof stated.
“He’s one of the best volleyers in the game. I think his serve, serving abilities these few weeks, have been outstanding. Even returning-wise I think everything worked. He showed that today again. Just an incredible partner. I think, yeah, he just loves playing here apparently. Obviously we got the crowd behind us as well. That’s also something good for us.
“Can also be a bit more pressure obviously because everyone has their standards and their expectations because we’re first seed, obviously. Everyone, yeah, sees us as the favourites. I think especially Neal dealt with it very good. He had the experience of Centre Court, which I didn’t. Yeah, I think it was very high level from Neal and from me as well in the end. Yeah, happy to be next to him on court, especially here.”
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