Melbourne | Frenchmen complete career Grand Slam
Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert became the 8th men’s doubles team in the sport’s history to complete a career Grand Slam of all four major championship crowns on Sunday afternoon by clinching their first Australian Open trophy at Melbourne Park.
I think we wanted it, but we also wanted to be good on court in each match and we focused on the game, and that's why maybe today we could achieve what we achieved here at the Australian Open Nicolas Mahut
The fifth-seeded Frenchmen defeated the No 12 seeds and 2017 champions, Finland’s Henri Kontinen and Australian John Peers, 6-4 7-6(1), in one hour and 38 minutes to add to their 2015 US Open, 2016 Wimbledon and 2018 Roland Garros titles.
The pair hit 14 winners to 25 for Kontinen and Peers, but their greater consistency on serve proved to be the difference on Rod Laver Arena.
“We knew when we won Roland Garros that it was the one missing, so for sure it added maybe a special motivation when entering this tournament,” said Herbert.
“I think we wanted it, but we also wanted to be good on court in each match and we focused on the game, and that’s why maybe today we could achieve what we achieved here at the Australian Open.”
“Today, I didn’t have it in mind, because I thought I was sure it would have been really difficult to play if I was just focused on just to win this tournament, because it was the one missing,” said Mahut.
“I was just focused on the game, just focused on what I have to do on court to be good, because in front of us we had a really good team to beat.”
Herbert and Mahut became the first team to complete the career Grand Slam since Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan completed their set of major titles at Wimbledon in July 2006.
The 2019 champions are also the second all-French pair in the Open Era, since April 1968, to lift the Australian Open trophy, following in the footsteps of Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro.
Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman are the only doubles team to complete the calendar-year Grand Slam in 1951.
Kontinen and Peers both saved three break points in their first service games, but the pressure mounted and successive groundstroke winners helped Herbert and Mahut break Kontinen’s serve for a 5-4 advantage.
Herbert saved four break points at 1-2 in the second set, before Peers saved two break points — courtesy of two backhand errors — in a 16-point game. Three successive errors from Kontinen and Peers at the start of the tie-break, gave Herbert and Mahut the upper hand en route to an historic victory. The two teams are now tie 2-2 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
Rod Laver and Roy Emerson, the only two players in the sport’s history to capture all four major singles championships twice, presented the trophies on the main stadium at Melbourne Park. Afterwards, Novak Djokovic, who is attempting to make history today against Rafael Nadal by lifting a record seventh Australian Open singles crown, came out onto court to congratulate Herbert and Mahut.
Herbert and Mahut are now 13-6 in tour-level finals, including six ATP Masters 1000 crowns.
“When I had to choose a partner when [Michael] Llodra retired, then I had no doubt that I had to play with Pierre-Hugues,” said Mahut. “Because I was sure we’d have so much success. Then after five years, we learned about each other. We spent so much time on court, out of the court. As I said on court, I love him like my brother.”