Monday, May 30, 2011

Paris Streaks and Doubles Love

Novak Djokovic isn't the only player with a streak on the line in Paris. Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova have won 15 straight at Slams.
When American Vania King and Kazakh Yaroslava Shvedova take court 1 for their quarterfinal French Open doubles match vs. Nadia Petrova and Anastasia Rodionova tomorrow, most of America will be asleep. That's okay, because most of America thinks that American tennis is in a state of pathetic decay, because that's what they've been reading for the past few years.

Well, I'm here to paint a different picture. It's called doubles love people, and with the most successful doubles team in the history of the game on the men's side (the Bryan Brothers) and the rise of King and Shvedova since Wimbledon 2010, the American doubles game is going very strong in Paris, thank you.

Doubles is a frenetic and wildly entertaining spectacle to witness in person or on TV, but those Americans who actually decide (trust me, it's not easy in California) to wake up early and watch live tennis from Paris will get so see very little of it. Sadly, even with the Bryan Brothers being the best story in American tennis since the Williams sisters have gone inactive, doubles isn't getting the love it deserves in the States, or anywhere else for that matter.

With all the discussion about how American tennis is on the decline, you hardly hear a single peep about the fact that we are making some serious magic on the doubles court. Why is that?

I'll leave that as a rhetorical question for the moment, but if you have any insight, feel free to e-mail me.

King and Shvedova are three matches from having the second longest women's doubles winning streak to start a career, and while it might not be as remarkable as what Novak Djokovic is doing in the men's singles, it is certainly an inspiring story for a country that quite frankly could use some positive press.

I'm not saying that we need to make doubles our national pastime, I'm just saying that it would be nice to throw Vania King a bone in between needlessly negative sentences about American tennis.

The California-born King has won 15 straight Grand Slam matches since teaming up with Yaroslava Shvedova at Wimbledon last year. It was there that they -- not the Williams sisters -- emerged as champions and became only the fourth unseeded team in Wimbledon history to claim the first prize.

But it didn't stop there. King and Shvedova also won their second Grand Slam in New York, when they came back from a set down in the final to defeat Liezel Huber and Nadia Petrova in a third set tiebreaker to secure their second piece of Slam hardware.

This year, amidst all the talk about the fact that no American has made it past the third round in singles, King and Shvedova are still thriving in the doubles (so are the Bryans, fyi). They rallied from 6-2, 3-2 down in the second round to keep their streak alive.

They'll be playing the quarterfinals while the rest of us are sleeping off our Memorial day barbecues. But if they keep up their improbable streak, our sleeping patterns might have to be altered by the final.

Or better yet, we can stay up all night.

Who's with me?
Click here for a piece on King and Shvedova's streak on the WTA's site:

1 comment:

  1. thanks for this. i love doubles.


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