The tough side of sport showed its face today at the Mutua Madrid Open. On a day that should have produced a thrilling final, Nikola Mektic and Alexander Peya were crowned champions of the men’s doubles without having to cross the finish line. The Croatian and Austrian took the title against the team formed by Mike and Bob Bryan, who suffered the first withdrawal of their career after the latter was unable to continue due an injured right leg when the score read 5-3.
In their debut season, Mektic and Peya enjoyed immediate chemistry for their first ATP Masters 1000 on the Caja Mágica clay. It is their second title in 2018 after the one they took recently on the clay of Marrakech.
“It’s not the way we wanted to win the tournament”, said Peya. “I hope you recover soon and we’ll see you again on court. We’ve had a good year, we’re really happy to get our first ATP Masters 1000 and I hope we continue in this way”, recognised the Austrian after increasing his doubles trophy hall to 17 on the ATP World Tour.
“I’m not used to the ceremonies”, claimed Mektic after sealing his fourth ATP World Tour doubles title. “Congratulations on reaching the final and I’m sorry you had to withdraw. I wish you a fast recovery. We’ve had a great year and I hope we continue to play at this level for a long time”, said a sporting Mektic.
With the result, the European team has added to its success in a campaign that has included five finals in as many months, consolidating their status as a breakthrough team and ensuring their rise to number 3 in the Race to London as from next Monday.
Under the intensity of the Madrid sun and in the fast conditions of the Manolo Santana Stadium, Mektic and Peya soon looked comfortable. They only needed one game to break Bob Bryan’s serve and to take the lead. The speed of both players, neither of whom measures more than 5’11”, allowed them to maintain their advantage throughout. The lead looked convincing before the injury forced their adversaries to withdraw.
The retirement brought an abrupt end to the Bryan brothers’ quest for a sixth title in the Spanish capital and to reinforce their reputation as the best duo in the tournament’s history. Despite the sad way the match ended, the US pair will leave Madrid with an extra dose of confidence; they have reached the final of the first four ATP Masters 1000 of 2018 and, as from Monday, they will be the first team in the world this season.
“Congratulations, I hope we meet in the future because you did a good job. Hopefully we can come back next year in better physical condition”, said Mike. “We would like to thank Manolo Santana for his work to make a tournament of this calibre possible, it’s always a pleasure for us to come to Madrid”, ended the American.