Dodig, Polasek Win First Major Title Together

Filip Polasek and Ivan Dodig (photo: Mark Peterson/Tennis Australia)

MELBOURNE/WASHINGTON, February 21, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek won the Australian Open men’s doubles crown for their for Grand Slam title in their sixth major championship together Sunday afternoon at Melbourne Park.

Dodig of Croatia and Polasek from Slovakia combined to hit 26 winners en route to their 6-3, 6-4 victory over Rajeev Ram of the United States and Joe Salisbury from Great Britain in 88 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

“I think today was one of our better matches,” said Dodig during the team’s post-match press conference. “Even though through the whole tournament we played great tennis, every match was better and better. Final was I think one of our better matches through all this one and one-half years we are playing together. That’s most important.

“It’s always very satisfying and we can be happy if we can produce great tennis on most important matches like a Grand Slam final.”

Polasek, whose partner, Karin, gave birth to the couple’s second daughter two days ago, added: “Usually, I am the one who is more up and down. Ivan is always the consistent member of the team. … He gets me through the menus when I am not hitting great. But today I picked it up [my returns] from the beginning. I was just trying to keep going as long as possible.”

The victory for Dodig and Polasek was their third tour-level title following earlier successes two years ago in Cincinnati and Beijing.

“I’m proud of the way we competed,” said Ram, who teamed with Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic to win the Australian Open mixed doubles title on Saturday. “They were just a bit too good for us today.”

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By the numbers

What they’re saying

Novak Djokovic, on whether this was the most difficult of the nine Australian Open titles he’s won:

“Each one is different. It’s hard to compare. But it has been definitely emotionally the most challenging Grand Slams that I ever had with everything that was happening, injury, off-the-court stuff, quarantines. It has been, least to say, a roller- coaster ride in the last four weeks.

“Of course, I’m not the only one that has experience that, talking about quarantine. I can’t complain. I mean, I probably had it the best I possibly could have comparing to the other players, some that had to stay 15, 20 days without exiting the room and training.

“A lot of mixed emotions, as I was saying on the court, with the media, tennis players getting here in the midst of pandemic. I mean, a lot of suffering, a lot of sacrifice. At the beginning, we didn’t feel so welcome, judging by what the media was writing about tennis players and being here.

“I think when you draw a line in the end of the day, I think it was a very successful tournament for Tennis Australia, for Australian Open, for Australian country. We all wish to experience more of the tournaments like this in our schedule. It’s going to be highly unlikely that we will see crowds anywhere else except here. Maybe few other places. But the way it looks like, it’s going to keep going for some time.

“So, I’m very thankful that the Australian government and Australians managed to allow crowd to be on the stands. We almost kind of forgotten how that feels.

“So, yeah, I mean, it was very challenging for me to keep my mind serene and keep my focus directed into what matters the most. I mean, I have put a lot of energy and time, along with my team, to be here sitting with a trophy. So, I’ll take a lot of positives out of this month here in Australia and see what’s rest of the season is going to look like.”

What they’re writing

What they’re sharing on social media

Novak Djokovic / Celebrating his ninth AO title

Daniil Medvedev / 🙏🙏 #australianopen2021

Rajeev Ram / 2019 –> 2021