Let’s Talk About Doubles and Mixed Doubles at Wimbledon

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With Wimbledon in full swing and seeds falling in all areas, the doubles is not exempt from this.

In the ATP doubles, the highest seeds left in the event after the second round are Jamie Murray & Bruno Soares, who are seeded fifth. The first round saw the top seeds and the third seeds tumble out.

The second round had more casualties, leaving only seven seeded pairs progress into the second week of the All-England Championships. The Brits have four pairs left in, with the guarantee of at least one making the quarterfinals.

Murray & Soares will take on unseeded Ken & Neal Skupski, the brothers from Liverpool. Frederik Nielsen will be hoping to replicate the 2012 success when he won the title with Brit Jonny Marray. This time around the Dane has partnered Joe Salisbury.

Dom Inglot is playing with Franko Skugor this year, and the pair have already claimed two titles together this year. One of these is on the grass in the Libema Open. Although at Grand Slam level they have not won a title, to make the second week and hopefully further stands British doubles in good stead.

The Brits have seven male doubles players ranked in the top 100, all of which is down to the excellent work by Louis Cayer.

On the WTA side, Wimbledon has been more favourable to the doubles seeds, as most of the seeded pairs are still in the draw. The Brits however, only have one team left in; Heather Watson is playing with Tatjana Maria.

Mixed Doubles 

The seeding system at Wimbledon for mixed doubles is based on the ranking of the individuals pairing up. Sadly, mixed doubles only takes place four times a year (five if it’s an Olympic year). Only the Grand Slams offer mixed doubles during the tournament.

In this author’s view, mixed doubles should be played more often. This would give the pairings more playing time, and a much fairer seeding system. One that is based like every other seeding, your team ranking during the year.

On the tennis calendar there are other joint events where mixed doubles could effectively be added, giving more opportunity for teams to play together.

In Wimbledon, defending mixed doubles champion Jamie Murray is unseeded this year. He is playing with a new partner in Victoria Azarenka.

2016 champions and 2017 runners up Watson and Henri Kontinen are the 16th seeds, they have a bye into the second round. The pair did not play Roland Garros together, instead the Fin teamed with Mihaela Buzărnescu and were defeated in the first round.

More events on the mixed doubles calendar would allow pairings to “settle” in together. This would save having to find someone to sign up with on the grounds. Eastbourne is a joint grass event, Miami, Cincinnati, Indian Wells to name just a few of the events that could add in a mixed doubles event to help pairs “bond.”

Something that will really bring up the exposure of mixed doubles, and doubles in general, is coverage on the television. In Britain, during Wimbledon the BBC cover many different courts and the viewer can choose which match they want to see. Many of these do include doubles matches, which are great fun to watch. ESPN is also streaming all of the doubles matches in the United States if someone has an ESPN+ membership. More exposure to doubles might help fans want to watch more–which will allow for doubles to be taken more seriously at all levels and all tournaments.