For some players, finding a doubles partner is simple — just ask a friend. (Or within the case of Serena and Venus Williams, a sibling.)
That’s been the case for the Aussies, Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis, often known as the Special Ks. The duo are close friends who’ve been playing doubles together since they were boys.
Other players, nonetheless, must exit on limb to search out a partner. In some cases, that may mean taking publicly to social media or sliding into the DMs.
Before Wimbledon this 12 months, Coco Gauff, 18-year-old American, took to Twitter to go looking for a partner for the mixed doubles draw.
“Who desires to play mixed at wimby,” Gauff said in tweet.
The 2 advanced to the semifinals before losing in three sets.
Others have had much more luck on social media. Before the French Open this 12 months, Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands sent a direct message to Ena Shibahara of Japan to ask if she’d be occupied with playing mixed doubles. The 2 had never met before, but they went on to win the title.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands, an American skilled tennis player who was formerly No. 1 in doubles, said she has played with lots of friends throughout her profession. “I feel like that makes doubles that rather more fun, you’re on the market with a buddy and then you definitely just work out what your strengths are as a team and go from there,” she said.
But overall, finding a doubles partner “could be pretty random,” Mattek-Sands said. “You may confer with a friend, send a text and just be like, ‘Hey, do you may have a partner for this tournament, that tournament?”
How long a team stays together really varies, Mattek-Sands said: Some players prefer to play with the identical person all 12 months because they will compete as a team within the year-end championships. Others prefer to play for clay-court season or the hardcourt season. Sometimes a match up is only a one off.
Some players just take a look at the rankings of other players, but “more often than not it’s friends texting friends or coaches texting other coaches to see if their player already has a partner,” Mattek-Sands said.
Before this 12 months, it’s been some time since either of the Williams sisters have played doubles. Venus Williams lasted played on the French Open last 12 months with Gauff. And before this 12 months, Serena Williams last played doubles a tournament in Latest Zealand in 2020 with Caroline Wozniacki.
To play on this 12 months’s women’s doubles draw, the Williams sisters were awarded a wild card from the U.S. Open.
The Williams sisters won the U.S. Open doubles tournament together in 1999 and 2009. The sisters have won 14 Grand Slam titles together, most recently at Wimbledon in 2016. They last played doubles on the U.S. Open in 2014, and at any Grand Slam tournament in 2018.
“I believe you’ll know if Venus and Serena are playing well by how they’re serving after which putting the pressure on that second ball,” said Mattek-Sands, who has competed in doubles against the Williams sisters. “We all know that they will each hit big serves, but how is their partner at the web handling that? I believe in the event that they can put lots of pressure on the returners, they’re going to be doing rather well.”