Aussie wildcards hoping to add to Australia’s proud doubles history
Jason Kubler and Rinky Hijikata are aiming to become the 14th all-Australian team to win an Australian Open men's doubles title in the Open era.
Australia boasts a proud history in doubles, as the Australian Open men’s doubles honour roll highlights.
There have been 25 Aussie players win the title in the Open era. Among them are greats of the sport such as Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, John Newcombe, Tony Roche, Paul McNamee, Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde. In recent years, John Peers, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios have added their names to that illustrious list.
Tomorrow, Jason Kubler and Rinky Hijikata have the chance to join them.
“Obviously Australia is a very good doubles nation, and that’s something that’s really engrained into the history of our tennis,” Hijikata acknowledged.
“I guess both of us grew up learning about the great doubles players of the past. You know, it’s pretty special trying to carry that on.”
Hijikata is ranked No.277 and making only his second Grand Slam doubles appearance, so admits he is shocked to be challenging for his first major doubles title.
“To be honest, we are both still singles players. We’re probably the bottom pair on that list, I’d say,” said the 21-year-old from Sydney.
“I don’t think we are anywhere near as good as any of the Australian pairs that have come before us. It’s just pretty surprising that we are here, to be honest.
“We will make the most of it and we will keep going and keep trying our best. Hopefully we can add to the legacy in some way.”
Remarkably, this is Hijikata and Kubler’s first tournament together. And according to 29-year-old Kubler, it won’t be their last.
“I’m super pumped now for what the future holds,” said the world No.163, who is projected to break into the world’s top 50 after the tournament.
“Our rankings go up a fair bit now and we can actually play the other Slams together. It’s great what we are doing here, but now we can look to Roland Garros, to Wimbledon, to US Open, to even Aussie Open next year now.
“There is a new team forming. That’s probably what I’m more excited for.”
Hijikata and Kubler face Monaco’s Hugo Nys and Poland’s Jan Zielinski, who are also aiming to win their first Grand Slam titles, in tomorrow evening’s final.
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