The previous post on this site titled 'The Genius of Doubles' was not so much referring to the great John McEnroe, it was more a play on words. I was in fact referring to just how much of a genius you have to be to become a successful doubles player now days because of the outrageous ability a player must own to consistently win at the two on two format.
It seems that rankings are not adhered to by opposing teams. Let's look at the current two tournaments being played in both Portugal and Munich and see how the seeded teams are going.
The number 1 seeded team of Linstedt and Groth own a combined ranking of just under under 100, to be exact it is 96 and in the round of 16 they took on Harrison and Venus who's combined ranking is just under 300. Now to put this into perspective, it's actually a FIRST ROUND MATCH, only 16 teams are put into the main draw of smaller events.
Now in singles I suppose someone ranked 245 would be of no match for someone inside the top 50 yet in doubles it really doesn't seem to make a difference and it appears that the new cut throat type of format is now making doubles a ridiculously even playing field.
Harrison and Venus took the match in a third set super tie breaker.
Koolhof and Middlekoop, seeded 2, own a combined ranking of 104 in Mens Doubles and took on Jaziri and Muller who's ranking put together is 364. A ranking that low should in all seriousness not bother a team who have enjoyed some success together with three titles to their names. Jaziri and Muller have never won a doubles event yet took out the second seeds in another third set super tie breaker. Is there a pattern here ?
The number 3 seeds, Daniell and Demoiliner had on paper a first round match that could have gone either way as their combined ranking of 102 was not too much different than that of their opponents, Raja and Sharan ( 120 ). Does a first up match get any tougher than that ?
Well how about this score line, the un seeded team of Raja and Sharan took the first set 6-0, yep the bagel, work that one out, they then scraped through in a tie breaker in the second.
So there's the story line at Portugal, the top 3 teams all beaten first round, or technically, the Round of 16, same thing of course. And their prize ? $2,490 Euros between them, hardly an amount worth writing home about but maybe enough for a train ticket to the next tournament.
So to Munich, let's see if the top seeded doubles teams faired any better than those in Portugal.
Marach and Pavic were seeded 1, their combined ranking is 66 and drew possibly the toughest un seeded team imaginable as Baker and Mektic were coming off a huge win in Barcelona where they took the title as the number 4 seeds.
For some reason they didn't quite sneak into the seedings in Munich though it didn't really matter as they took the match 3 and 4, no worries. This match was in fact a SECOND ROUND MATCH, or technically, a quarter final so at least a top seeded team won a round, at last.
The number 2 seeded team in Munich was Mirnyi and Huey who together own a ranking of 71. Their first match was against Kretschmer and Satschko ( no I have never heard of them either ) and their combined ranking is a Test Cricket score, 383 to be exact. Easy first win for the second seeds ? Try again. The two local Wild Cards thrilled the home crowd with a straight sets victory, 6 and 1. Tough to get a read on all of this aint it ??
So in summary, in two events just a solitary match was in fact won by a top seeded doubles team, ONE MATCH. In Portugal the top three seeded teams did not trouble the score board and took home around $7,500 Euros in total.
In Munich the number 1 and 2 seeded teams are out by the quarters, prize money much the same though the number 1 seeds shared $ 4,260 Euros. Not big dollars though is it ?
Pro Tennis at times seems glamorous and sure at the big events it is but once again I urge you to spare a thought for the players who are simply looking for that one big break, an event where they can perhaps win enough Euros to not only take them to the next tournament but perhaps several more without taking out a Bank loan.
Tough sport tennis, not for the faint hearted and not for those who don't own a reasonable sized bank account to start with.......