Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, the winning couple of tennis

“I was the one who stopped playing with my ex-partner, even though we finished No. 1,” Pavic said via video. “We just thought about thin...


“I was the one who stopped playing with my ex-partner, even though we finished No. 1,” Pavic said via video. “We just thought about things differently, like the tournament schedule. I was 27, he was 38 then. We were at a different stage in our career. But we finished # 1, so there was no reason to think we wouldn’t continue to play together.

Mektic, who started focusing on doubles five years ago, was also surprised.

“I always feel bad when talking about it because I had a great partnership with Wesley, and I would have continued to play with him,” said Mektic. “But when [Pavic] asked me, it was just one of those things that I couldn’t say no to. He’s the best player in the world and I thought this partnership could be the best team in the world. And I was kinda right looking at what we’ve seen so far.

Mektic and Pavic won their first 12 matches together before being stopped in the semi-finals of the Australian Open. They then recorded an 18-game winning streak from June through August.

According to both players, playing doubles is quite an art.

“It’s a completely different sport,” Pavic said. “Singles guys are obviously better tennis players. They hit the ball better. But their understanding of the game, their positioning, being in the right place at the right time on the pitch, it’s not the same in doubles.

“It’s not just about forehands and backhands,” Mektic said. “From a tennis and personality perspective, some guys are very individual and have a hard time working with someone. Having good communication with your partner certainly helps.

Mektic and Pavic recognize that the best singles players make more money, gain prime time field exposure and receive greater sponsorship benefits. But in some ways, being No.1 in doubles is better than being Novak Djokovic, who in 2021 finished No.1 in singles for a record seventh year.

“It’s a different kind of life that Novak and the other guys have, and I can’t even imagine how it is,” Mektic said. “For us you get to the top of your sport, but you’re still the same person and you’re not that popular. People are not going to stop you on the street and make you feel uncomfortable. In that sense, I like it like that. I love that I can live a normal life.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, the winning couple of tennis
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