Briton Neal Skupski wins his first Grand Slam against compatriots Harriet Dart and Joe Salisbury… with the defeated male player losing to Desirae Krawczyk – his partner as they won the French Open last month
- Neal Skupski and Desirae Krawczyk beat Joe Salisbury and Harriet Dart 6-2, 7-6
- It was Skupski first Grand Slam at the age of 29 – and at his home tournament
- The match was wrapped up around 15 minutes before England played Italy
- Krawczyk won back-to-back majors like men’s singles winner Novak Djokovic
- Salisbury partnered Krawczyk at Roland Garros – but lost today to the American
- The Briton will be hoping that the 27-year-old wants to reunite at the US Open
It has been a fortnight of giddy highs and desperate lows for the British contingent but last night it ended with a Wimbledon title for the home guard.
With Brits on each team in the mixed doubles final that was a guarantee, but it was Neal Skupski and his partner Desirae Krawczyk who beat Joe Salisbury and Harriet Dart 6-2, 7-6.
For Liverpool’s Skupski, it was a first Grand Slam title at the age of 29. An initially modest career is showing great promise as he approaches a doubles player’s peak years.
Neal Skupski has his first major after beating his compatriots alongside Desirae Krawczyk
Joe Salisbury partnered Krawczyk before swapping her for Harriet Dart ahead of Wimbledon
‘It’s amazing,’ he said. ‘I have been playing doubles for eight years now and sometimes you doubt whether you are good enough to be at this level. But you have just got to keep believing, keep trying.
‘It just shows that anything is possible in this sport, and hopefully it’s not the last time I’m in a Grand Slam final. I look forward to what the future holds.’
There is usually something of a spectator exodus between the end of the men’s final and the start of the mixed.
And yesterday, with the doubles starting just under an hour and a half before the affair across town at Wembley got under way, the evacuation was more pronounced that usual.
There were three Brits on the court, but it was the American whose stellar display ensured the match was wrapped up just about in time for everyone to get to the nearest pub for the football.
‘I think we finished with 15 minutes to go or 20 minutes to go (until kick-off),’ said Skupski. ‘Perfect timing for everyone. Everyone’s happy.’
Krawczyk was quite brilliant. Like all great doubles players she had the vision to know where to direct the ball and the skill to put it there.
Like her predecessor on Centre Court yesterday, Novak Djokovic, the 27-year-old Californian completed the ‘Channel Slam’ of back-to-back French Open and Wimbledon titles.
In a quirk of fate, her partner in the first leg of that triumph was her opponent in the second.
Skupski and Krawczyk around 15 minutes before England kicked off against Italy at Wembley
Salisbury partnered Krawczyk in Australia and Paris before switching to Dart for Wimbledon.
It seems the arrangement was wholly amicable, but it is tempting to say that hell hath no fury like a mixed doubles partner scorned.
Skupski said: ‘I think it was our best match of the tournament. It was a good time to produce it.
‘Never easy to play against fellow Brits, especially for Desirae, playing her partner Joe. But Desirae is on fire in mixed doubles now.’
Salisbury was asked whether he and Krawczyk would be reunited at the US Open and replied: ‘Well the plan was for us to play together, but maybe she’ll dump me for Neal now!’
What says Desirae? ‘I’ll have to think about it. No, I’m just kidding. We’re definitely playing together.’
On last night’s evidence, that will be a welcome relief for Salisbury.