Melbourne, Australia, 20 January 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Luke Saville and Alex Bolt epitomise the grassroots to Grand Slam journey.

The long-time friends, who grew up in South Australia’s Riverland region, are teaming up for the first time at Grand Slam level at this year’s Australian Open.

“I think we played our first doubles tournament together when we were five,” the 30-year-old Bolt related.

“We’ve known each other for a long time and we’re great friends. To finally, in the middle of our careers, to play together at a Grand Slam, it’s kind of a dream come true to play with one of your best mates.”

Bolt and 28-year-old Saville have made a winning start to their campaign too, defeating Argentine’s Diego Schwartzman and Federico Coria 6-2 6-4 in first-round action at Melbourne Park today.

“Diego and Federico are quality singles players and it showed today,” said Saville, an Australian Open 2020 doubles finalist.

“Bolty and I haven’t played doubles together for quite some time and I was really happy with how we combined today.”

The lifelong friends have played together sporadically throughout their professional careers, most recently at an ATP Challenger in China in 2018.

They reunited at an ATP Challenger in Canberra earlier this month, making the quarterfinals.

In other men’s doubles action today, Jordan Thompson and Max Purcell charged into the second round.

The Davis Cup heroes, who teamed up for the first time in November to seal Australia’s progression to a first final in the prestigious team competition in 19 years, scored a 6-3 6-4 victory against Argentina’s Guillermo Duran and Austria’s Philipp Oswald.

“We just have fun, we don’t expect too much,” Thompson said of their partnership. “We’re gelling well, I think that’s why it works.”

This is 28-year-old Thompson’s second career Australian Open doubles win – and first since 2014.

“It wasn’t my best summer, so to get a win on the doubles court is great,” Thompson said.

Alexei Popyrin was back on court after his incredible singles victory against world No.9 Taylor Fritz yesterday, teaming with compatriot Marc Polmans. The Aussie wildcards scored a 6-4 6-3 win in 61 minutes to move into the second round.

The news wasn’t so good for last year’s finalist Matt Ebden, who bowed out alongside Indian partner Rohan Bopanna. Austrian pair Alexander Erler and Lucas Miedler posted a 6-3 7-5 victory against the No.10 seeds.

Aussies in action – Australian Open

Men’s doubles, first round
Max Purcell (AUS)/Jordan Thompson (AUS) d Guillermo Duran (ARG)/Philipp Oswald (AUT) 6-3 6-4
[WC] Alex Bolt (AUS)/Luke Saville (AUS) d Federico Coria (ARG)/Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 6-2 6-4
[WC] Marc Polmans (AUS)/Alexei Popyrin (AUS) d [Alt] Facundo Bagnis (ARG)/Robert Galloway (USA) 6-4 6-3
Alexander Erler (AUT)/Lucas Miedler (AUT) d [10] Matt Ebden (AUS)/Rohan Bopanna (IND) 6-3 7-5
Benjamin Bonzi (FRA)/Arthur Rinderknech (FRA) d [WC] John Millman (AUS)/Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) 6-2 7-6(3)

> READ: Top-ranked Aussie women make winning start in Australian Open doubles

Men’s doubles, second round
[14] John Peers (AUS)/Andreas Mies (GER) v TBC
Max Purcell (AUS)/Jordan Thompson (AUS) v Hugo Nys (MON)/Jan Zielinski (POL)
[WC] Marc Polmans (AUS)/Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v [2] Rajeev Ram (USA)/Joe Salisbury (GBR)
[WC] Alex Bolt (AUS)/Luke Saville (AUS) v [4] Nikola Mektic (CRO)/Mate Pavic (CRO)
[WC] Rinky Hijikata (AUS)/Jason Kubler (AUS) v [6] Lloyd Glasspool (GBR)/Harri Heliovaara (FIN)

> VIEW: Australian Open 2023 men’s doubles draw

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