Greatest Tennis Doubles Pairs : Doubles in tennis is the pairing up of two players to play a single match or a series of matches against another team. These games are all about teamwork. Playing singles are about the individual efforts put by the player while doubles need understanding between the two players.
The chief factor that adds to their achievements is that the two players trust each other and know how the other person plays, their weaknesses and strengths. The pair tries to compensate for one another’s flaws and work as a single unit and not individually. A perfect pair can achieve heights. Their aim is to be an unbeatable team in the matches played, while maintaining their individuality.
These legendary pairs have shown what a perfect team can look like:
Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver
The two gained the 1981 edition of Wimbledon, and for the next two years took top honours at both the year-opening Australian Open and Wimbledon. Navratilova achieved three Majors in 1982, two of them with Shriver. But the year was 1984 that proved to be their biggest year, the Navratilova-Shriver combine attained the Calendar Grand Slam-winning every Major doubles title.
The pair ended their partnership with a staggering twenty-one doubles Majors titles on every possible land. Perhaps one of the most fruitful doubles partnerships in tennis history started only because of a call from Navratilova asking Shriver to partner with her. It was the beginnings of her partnership with American first-rate Pam Shriver in 1981 that proved to be one of the most successful doubles partnerships of all time.
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan
Known as the Bryan Brothers, genealogical twins Bob and Mike Bryan are the most popular doubles tennis pair of all time. They have won more tournaments than any other pair in the history of doubles tennis and held the World No. 1 ranking. They also have Olympic gold collected, winning them at the London 2012 games, with each brother winning many titles in the mixed doubles.
When the two won in 2013 at Wimbledon, the two held every Major and the Olympic gold in the span of one year, making them the only doubles pair to do so. They combined over 112 titles on Tour of a total of 167 finals, and the 38-year-old brothers are still the World No. 2 rated pair, 22 years after first going pro and 15 years after their big advance on the Tour. To show to that fact, this year the two completed as runners-up at the Australian Open – a tournament they have won six times.
Leander Paes – Mahesh Bhupathi
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi are considered the ‘first pair’ in the sport in India, they were almost responsible individually for putting India in the limelight when it came to tennis. The pair saw a renowned partnership, becoming the top-rated doubles players in the world – the first time an Indian pair had achieved the same. These days, Bhupathi has been busy with a sports organization and his baby, the International Premier Tennis League, while Paes is still successful on the tennis court, more so in the mixed doubles, Paes has continued to win Majors with former World No. 1 Martina Hingis.
Natasha Zvereva – Gigi Fernandez
Belarusian Natasha Zvereva had victories as a youngster in the singles, winning the Wimbledon girls’ singles title in 1986, then the US Open girls’ singles the next year. Like a number of popular women’s doubles players of her time, she was one of the top-ranked in the singles as well, reaching a career-high of World No. 5, making the final rounds of the French Open in 1988. She was one of the only singles players who had beaten both former World No. 1s – Monica Seles and Steffi Graf, in the same Wimbledon held in 1998, it was only the second time in history a player had done so. But it was in the doubles that the frank Zvereva truly shone.
Firstly pairing up with Larisa Savchenko, with whom she won two titles, Zvereva won a title with Pam Shriver before partnering Puerto Rican-American Gigi Fernandez is one of the most fruitful women’s doubles pairings in tennis. Together, the two aced on a nine-Grand Slam winning streak, and at Wimbledon 1993 held all four Grand Slam titles. The duo won fourteen Majors of 17 Slam finals they played together and a record number of titles on the Tour, becoming the most achieved doubles pair since Navratilova and Shriver just before them. Together, the two were welcomed into the tennis Hall of Fame in 2010.
Todd Woodbridge – Mark Woodforde
Known as the Woodies, Australians Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde won 11 Majors as a team. They also aced the doubles gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, again that netted them a Career Golden Slam. The duo came together in 1991 and enjoyed an enormously fruitful 9-year partnership until Woodforde retired, following which Woodbridge paired up with Swedish ace Jonas Bjorkman for more Major titles.
Woodbridge was a Top 20 singles player before taking up the doubles but relished so much success with Woodforde that the pair went on to win a staggering 61 titles on the ATP World Tour across places. Todd Woodbridge gained 5 titles with Jonas Bjorkman before his 2005 retirement, and the pair routinely represented Australia at the Davis Cup and met with success there too. The two have bronzed statues on their behalf at Melbourne Park in acknowledgement of their endeavours.
Doubles players teach us that team efforts can bring about the best, provided the pair puts in their mind and soul to it. These legendary teams are sure to remain as the perfect examples for the future generations of doubles players to come. The power of teamwork is evident through these pairs who have made it into the history of the sport. Their achievements are forever marked in the hall of fame, where the players have gained a name as both singles and doubles achievers.