Koolhof And Mektic Make History Winning ATP Finals Title

WASHINGTON, November 24, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

Imagine the feeling that comes with winning your first doubles titles as a team. Then, add this to that feeling: Your first doubles title as a team also comes at the Nitto ATP Finals. That’s what happened to Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands and Nikola Mektic from Croatia on Sunday afternoon at The O2 Arena in London.

The No. 5 seeds Koolhof and Mektic completed their debut season as a team with their first title after they beat No. 7 seeds Jurgen Melzer of Austria and Edouard Roger-Vasselin from France, 6-2, 4-6, 10-5, to win the Nitto ATP Finals trophy. It was like a dream come true.

The Koolhof-Mektic duo formed last January at the Adelaide International and by the end of the season, the Nitto ATP Finals was their third title match they had reached. Earlier, the right-handers lost their first two finals at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille and the US Open in September. By the time they lifted the champions trophy, Koolhof and Mektic completed the 2020 season with a respectable 23-13 win-loss record.

En route to winning the Nitto ATP Finals doubles crown, Koolhof and Mektic went 2-1 and finished first in Group Mike Bryan play. Then, they won their semifinal match over Marcel Granollers of Spain and Horacio Zeballos from Argentina, 6-3, 6-4.

“[It is] a dream come true to have qualified here for this event,” Koolhof said during the trophy ceremony following the final.

“[We] managed to play some very good tennis, made it through the group stage. Won yesterday (Saturday), played a very good match yesterday. Played here the final today (Sunday), which is always a dream, to play every final But to play the final of the [Nitto ATP] Finals is very big and [we are] extremely happy to have won.”

Koolhof became the fourth Dutch doubles player to win a year-end title. He joined previous champions Paul Haarhuis, Jacco Eltingh and Jean-Julian Rojer. “Paul and Jacco were one of the best, maybe the best doubles team, before the Bryans started playing,” said Koolhof, 31, a native of Zevanaar, Netherlands who turned pro in 2008. “I think they achieved so many things and it is always nice when you walk to Centre Court here to see their names on the wall two times and even Jules Rojer is up there. He was always the one, especially in my era, that I looked up against to try to beat him. He was always No. 1 in Holland. It means a lot that I am [alongside] those three big names in Holland and that I am the last one.”

Mektic, 31, from Zagreb, who also turned pro in 2008, became the first Croatian – singles or doubles – to win a trophy at the Nitto ATP Finals. “It’s [an] unbelievable feeling. It’s not just the way to finish this year. This is something to remember throughout the whole life,” Mektic said after the trophy ceremony. “This is for sure my biggest achievement of my life and my career, so this is something that I will remember forever. It’s a great way to finish the year and [there are] a lot of reasons to celebrate now.”

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