The New Doubles Teams Ready To Make Their Mark At The Australian Open
Each year there are new doubles teams that look to make a splash at the Australian Open. There were some mid-season shakeups in 2019, but will any pairs beginning their partnerships in 2020 make a breakthrough in Melbourne?
ATPTour.com looks at five new duos to watch for at the season’s first Grand Slam:
John Peers and Michael Venus
Peers and Venus have both won Grand Slam championships with other partners, and they both have also qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals on multiple occasions. So one thing they will not be short of is experience. Peers, an Aussie, and Venus, from New Zealand, are also sure to be crowd favourites in Melbourne, where fans are never shy about supporting locals.
Peers has won 20 tour-level titles, and Venus has lifted 10 trophies. They competed together for the first time at the ASB Classic in Auckland, where as the top seeds they fell in two tie-breaks in the first round.
Raven Klaasen and Oliver Marach
Like Peers and Venus, Klaasen and Marach lost their team debut this week at the Adelaide International against established pair Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo. But this tandem figures to grow into a dangerous duo as their chemisty improves and the year progresses.
These men have played each other 10 times at tour-level, and now they join forces to pursue trophies. Both are former Nitto ATP Finals qualifiers, with Klaasen claiming 16 ATP Tour crowns and Marach 23 at tour-level, including the 2018 Australian Open alongside Mate Pavic.
Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic
Koolhof got off to a fast start in 2020, partnering Rohan Bopanna to the Doha title. But the Dutchman’s new full-time partner is Nikola Mektic, who spent the beginning of the season representing Croatia in the inaugural ATP Cup.
Both players have competed well at the world’s biggest events, with Mektic owning three ATP Masters 1000 titles, and Koolhof reaching three finals at that level in 2019. Koolhof is a five-time ATP Tour titlist, and Mektic has lifted seven trophies, and they will look to make more noise in 2020. The new team got off to a strong start in Adelaide, winning their first match together against reigning Roland Garros champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies.
Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin
This new tandem has played together twice before — at the 2012 Winston-Salem Open and at last year’s Rolex Paris Masters — and they will look to create a formidable duo in 2020. Melzer, 38, and Roger-Vasselin, 36, have won 16 and 20 tour-level titles, respectively.
Roger-Vasselin in particular brings plenty of momentum into the new season after winning four ATP Tour titles in 2019. Both men have reached No. 6 in the ATP Doubles Rankings. Melzer, who captured three trophies last year, is a two-time Grand Slam champion. He won 2010 Wimbledon and the 2011 US Open with Philipp Petzschner.
Maximo Gonzalez and Fabrice Martin
No new team has gotten off to a quicker start together than Gonzalez and Martin, the Adelaide International champions. En route to the title, the Argentine-French duo beat three 2019 Nitto ATP Finals qualifiers: Kubot/Melo, Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury and Ivan Dodig/Filip Polasek.
Not only did Gonzalez and Martin defeat all those established teams; they did so without dropping a set.
"First tournament [I played] together with Fabrice, I think we did well. We had an amazing week in Adelaide and I hope to come back next year," said Gonzalez.
"It was amazing," said Martin. "First week for us, we right away got along really well and we felt really good from the start."