ritain’s Neal Skupski is reminding himself of Billie Jean King’s mantra that “pressure is a privilege”, as he gears up for a third-straight Wimbledon final.
Skupski has won the mixed doubles at SW19 for the past two years with Desirae Krawczyk but views tomorrow’s men’s doubles final with Dutchman Wesley Koolhof as the biggest match of his career.
Koolhof, 34, and Skupski, 33, reached the final after beating Matthew Ebden and Rohan Bopanna 7-5, 6-4 in Thursday’s semi-final.
“We’re very happy to make the final”, said Skupski. “It’s what we’ve been wanting to do. At the start of the year we wanted to win our first Grand Slam.
“We made it to the quarter-finals in Australia and the French, but we’re here in the final now at Wimbledon. It is extra special for me, obviously, being British. We’re going to give it everything.
“We played the US Open final last year, so hopefully we take some experience from that. It’s another chance for our first Grand Slam together. As Billie Jean King said, pressure is a privilege.”
The top seeds face Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers, of Spain. “We play a tough team”, Skupski said. “We have struggled against them over the last two years, played them twice, both in the French Open quarter-finals. Hopefully it’s third time lucky.”
Skupski’s older brother Ken, his coach, will miss the final as he was this morning taking a 5am flight to Ibiza for his family holiday.
“It’s perfectly fine,” Skupski said of his brother’s absence. “It’s always nice to have a Brit in at the end of the tournament at Wimbledon. This [the doubles] is the one we want. It’s the one we’ve been training for.”