Doubles Preview: Herbert/Mahut Ready For Australian Open Title Defence
The world’s best doubles teams seek an emphatic start to their season at the Australian Open, but will need to navigate a treacherous draw to finish as the last pair standing.
Defending champions and top seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut return to the site of their most recent Grand Slam title, which made them the eighth men's doubles team in history to complete the Career Grand Slam. The French pair start against Simone Bolelli/Benoit Paire. Bolelli won the title here in 2015 (w/Fognini).
“We had our first practice session this morning,” said Herbert. “We're really happy to be back together on court. We had an amazing end of the year. We’re just going to try our best. We know it's a Grand Slam [championship]. Every match is not easy to win. We're going to try to bring some of the things that worked last year into this year. We'll see where it goes.”
Mahut added, “The expectation is to have fun on court. If we have fun on court, the results will follow. We need to spend more time on the court. First, he has to play his singles tournament, then hopefully we win the first one or two matches, have some rhythm.”
Herbert/Mahut could face Adelaide champions and No. 15 seeds Maximo Gonzalez/Fabrice Martin or Henri Kontinen/Jan-Lennard Struff in the third round. Kontinen lifted the trophy three years ago in Melbourne (w/Peers). Sixth seeds Marcel Granollers/Horacio Zeballos are also in their quarter.
Second seeds Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo open against Guillermo Duran/Diego Schwartzman. Kubot seeks his second crown in Melbourne after prevailing in 2014 (w/Lindstedt). Kubot/Melo are in the same quarter as eighth seeds Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau.
Third seeds and reigning Roland Garros champions Kevin Krawietz/Andreas Mies kick off their campaign against Alexander Bublik/Mikhail Kukushkin. The German pair share the same quarter as fifth seeds Wesley Koolhof/Nikola Mektic and No. 10 seeds Mate Pavic/Bruno Soares. Pavic's maiden Grand Slam title came here in 2018 (w/Marach). Soares took the title in 2016 (w/J. Murray).
Fourth seeds Ivan Dodig/Filip Polasek begin against wild cards Blake Ellis/Alexei Popyrin. They could have a blockbuster third-round clash against No. 11 seeds and six-time champions Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan. The Bryans are playing in Melbourne for the last time as they kick off their final season on tour. Seventh seeds John Peers/Michael Venus loom as potential quarter-final opponents.