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Friday, October 7, 2022

The best-kept and most enjoyable secret of Wimbledon is its doubles competition

Coco Gauff got in position to serve, keeping her gaze locked on the ball and her shoulders back in preparation for the game. On Wednesday, she was competing in the semifinals of the mixed doubles event that was being held here. There was a moment of danger. The tipping point The third set is tied at one game apiece.

Gauff sent her male opponent Matthew Ebden a tight-spinning serve, and the point was on. This was a wonderful illustration of what makes Gauff such a strong player at the age of 18, as well as what makes doubles such a fan favourite for those who watch Wimbledon.

Soon after, her fellow player Jack Sock joined the fray and deftly handled a challenging volley. After that, Gauff smashed a forehand crosscourt winner over the head of her female opponent, Samantha Stosur. Tennis splendour may be found there. Back-to-back moonshot lobs, spinners, touch, power, and an exploration of all of the geometry on Court No. 3 with Gauff holding more than her own.

If your main exposure to tennis’s Grand Slam tournaments is from television or even just the majority of the media’s reportage, you may believe that the singles competition is the only one that counts. It takes up almost all of the oxygen via its breath. We are familiar with the well-known players, their strokes, their tendencies on the court, and their weaknesses off the court. We honour the pioneers who always appear to take the lead in advancing to higher levels.

However, due to the development of rackets and strings that are more powerful, singles competition is now almost always a fight of hammering groundstrokes. This is true even at Wimbledon, which was traditionally the domain of the serve and volley. The doubles competition in tennis is still underappreciated despite being the sport’s last bastion of diversity.

She practises her composure in singles matches, and while playing doubles, she works on developing new shots and the flexibility to execute them. She maintains a long-term perspective, with the hope that the combination will round out her game to the point where she can finally win a Grand Slam tournament.

When it came down to it, it took Gauff some time to consider Sock’s offer. What if she performed badly and made a fool of herself while competing against a man player who had such prowess? She said, “I was on the verge of telling him no.” When it all came to an end, “I was like, ‘get out of your brain, play with Jack!'”

The preliminary findings demonstrated that it was a prudent choice. In their first three encounters, Gauff and Sock did not have a single set loss. After that, there was the semifinal match on Wednesday against the experienced Australian duo of Ebden and Stosur.

As the third set progressed and the pressure increased, she displayed astute play by refusing to give any ground, serving and retrieving the ball well, and striking volleys with strong conviction. Two games each for both teams. There will be three matches. Four.

But it was Sock who sent an easy volley into the net when Gauff was serving for the opportunity to take a 6-5 lead. Then there was another. Stosur and Ebden capitalised on the opportunity and broke serve to take the lead. They won the match in a hurry with scores of 6-3, 5-7, and 7-5.

Gauff departed the court with a look of determination on his face, which was soothed by the fans who rose to applause loudly as a thank you to both sides for a match that was suspenseful and entertaining.

Dan O'Brien
I am a journalist for The National Era with an emphasis in sports.
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