France claimed the Men’s Doubles title on Saturday when Pierre-Hughes Herbert & Nicolas Mahut defeated Alexander Bublik & Andrey Golubev from Kazakstan, 4-6 7-6(1) 6-4, to become the first all-French team to win twice at the clay-court major since World War II.
For us as a team, we've been kind of struggling. We have not won a really big title for a long time now. Coming into this tournament, we didn't come with the same confidence as we did in the past. Being able to lift this trophy is just amazing because I think we won all these matches, not because we were better players, our level was not really better, but our behaviour on court. The way we stayed positive, the way we managed to play with the fears we had, that's why now we can look at each other and say we had an amazing week. Pierre-Hughes Herbert
Herbert & Mahut, who have won all four Grand Slam tournaments together, will now turn their focus to winning an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo after winning their 5th Grand Slam title together.
A very emotional Mahut held back tears and said winning the gold medal in doubles at the Olympics could well be the final big goal of their career.
“We are working very hard to achieve this,” he said. “At the end we’re here with the trophy. It’s amazing, with the family, with our wives, sons, it’s something that you’re lucky when it happen once in your life.
“This is the second time for us. We could not be any happier tonight.”
Herbert added: “From the start to the end, we had amazing support, maybe the best support I’ve had in my whole life for a two-week tournament.
“The final was terrible for me as I was tight the whole match. I wanted it so badly, maybe even more than the other four, so to win was really special.”
Herbert & Mahut, who first won the title in Paris in 2018, fought back from a set and a break down at 4-5 to overcome Bublik & Golubev.
The home favourites, who were backed heavily on Court Philippe-Chatrier, took 2 hours 11 minutes to triumph against a pair that dominated at the start.
Bublik & Golubev were bidding to win their first tour-level title and to become the first Kazakh men to win a Grand Slam title in any discipline, the only Kazakh to win a major title being Yaroslava Shvedova, who won the women’s doubles titles at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2010.
The Kazakh pair served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but Bublik was broken after hitting a double-fault.
Herbert & Mahut then dictated play in the tiebreak and saved 2 break points in the 4th game of the decider before breaking for a 4-3 lead.
The French pair, who dominated around the net during the contest, went on to close out the victory on serve for their 18th title together.
“For us as a team, we’ve been kind of struggling,” admitted Hebert. “We have not won a really big title for a long time now.
“Coming into this tournament, we didn’t come with the same confidence as we did in the past.
“Being able to lift this trophy is just amazing because I think we won all these matches, not because we were better players, our level was not really better, but our behaviour on court.
“The way we stayed positive, the way we managed to play with the fears we had, that’s why now we can look at each other and say we had an amazing week.”
Emotions were high as a raucous rendition of ‘La Marseillaise,’ from the crowd celebrated their heroes, and tears filled the eyes of the No 6 seeds on Court Philippe-Chartier.
Their friends and family packed their players’ box, along with boys’ doubles champions Arthur Fils & Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard, who launched into celebration as Herbert & Mahut fought back from the brink to triumph once again on home soil.
“I think it was just amazing to see them coming to the final and being in the stands. It’s been an amazing year for our juniors. We didn’t have this for a long time,” declared Herbert, proud of the French renaissance this fortnight.
“Luca Van Assche won, four [French players] in the [boys’] semi-finals in the singles. Especially with what happens now in the men’s draw, having nobody in the third round, it’s just special to have them.
“If we can help them getting better, if we can have a generation that is amazing in France, we would be so proud of being part of that.”
Mahut added: “Was amazing feeling at the end. We were so close to lose this one, but we were also so close to lose the semi-final,” referring to the 3 match points saved in the previous round.
“Also, it’s because we feel like we’re back to life, back to normal life. What we felt the last two weeks with the crowd, they were supporting us, amazing, like we never had here before.”