Canada’s Vasek Pospisil has usually just played a little doubles on the side throughout his tennis career.
That will change now that he’s a Wimbledon champion.
Pospisil teamed with American Jack Sock for the first time this month and the results were staggering. They pulled off upset after upset at the All England Club and capped their stunning run by topping the best men’s doubles team of all-time in the final.
“We were kind of joking around about it a little bit when we decided to sign up — that we’d go for the title,” Pospisil said Tuesday on a conference call. “Joking — but actually believing in it a little bit. I think if we didn’t believe we could do it I don’t think we’d be standing here with the trophy … we definitely knew it was possible but we wouldn’t put money on it.”
Pospisil, from Vancouver, and Sock are big hitters who used their strong service games and volley skills to their advantage at the Grand Slam event. They’re young, tall and powerful and had no pressure as an unseeded duo.
The final was a five-set thriller that lasted over three hours, as Pospisil and Sock beat top seeds and defending champions Bob and Mike Bryan of the United States 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
“We celebrated probably from the moment we got into the locker-room — the champagne was flowing,” Pospisil said. “We had a really great night with friends and family.”
Singles play will still be Pospisil’s primary focus but he plans to team with Sock for the rest of the season, including the U.S. Open and possibly the season-ending doubles championships.
Pospisil lost his first-round singles match at Wimbledon before giving doubles his full attention. It didn’t take long for him to develop some on-court chemistry with Sock.
“It was just one of those things, we didn’t even really practise or anything,” Pospisil said. “The first time we hit was before our first-round match. I think we just got along really well and our personalities seemed to match really well. We had a lot of fun on the court. I think that was the main thing.
“From the very first round we were just laughing and enjoying ourselves and trying not to take it too seriously but at the same time wanting to win.”
With Sock’s booming forehand and Pospisil’s aggressive net play, they quickly found their groove.
They were pushed to five sets in the second round before knocking off eighth-seeded Rohan Bopanna of India and Aisam Qureshi of Pakistan. Second-seeded Alexander Peya of Austria and Brazil’s Bruno Soares fell in a four-set quarter-final.
In the semifinal, Pospisil and Sock surprised fifth seeds Leander Paes of India and Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic in straight sets before they denied the Bryan twins their 16th Grand Slam doubles title and 99th overall.
Pospisil and Sock saved four match points in the final set before the American hit a winner down the line for the victory.
“Our games fit extremely well, they complemented each other really well the whole tournament,” Pospisil said. “Our personalities by the end of two weeks, we pretty much went from not knowing each other too well at all to being best friends.”
They were the first team since 2000 (Lleyton Hewitt and Max Mirnyi) to win a Grand Slam title in their first tournament together. It was the first time a Canadian had played in the Wimbledon men’s doubles final since 2009, when Toronto’s Daniel Nestor teamed with Nenad Zimonjic to win their second All England Club title.
Pospisil and Sock first broached the subject of teaming up about six weeks ago, but Pospisil didn’t know if he’d be able to play due to a nagging back injury.
The Canadian was pain-free in the days leading up to Wimbledon and they gave it a go.
“The timing was pretty amazing,” Pospisil said. “It was a pretty fortunate pairing that we got together and that he decided to take that chance. I think I told him like 50-50 at the time but it was probably more like 60-70 per cent that I wouldn’t play.
“It just ended up working out very well.”
It was the first Centre Court appearance for both the 24-year-old Pospisil and Sock, who’s 21. Sock has had Grand Slam doubles success in the past, teaming with fellow American Melanie Oudin to win the mixed title at the 2011 U.S. Open.
Pospisil’s previous best Grand Slam doubles results were round of 16 appearances last year with Ottawa’s Jesse Levine at Wimbledon and with Nestor at the U.S. Open.
The Canadian currently holds the No. 33 position in both the singles and doubles world rankings. Sock is ranked 31st in doubles and 76th in singles.
With files from The Associated Press.
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