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Wimbledon Top 10: Doubles pairs

Bob and Mike Bryan celebrate after taking a point.
by Simon Cambers
Sunday 30 June 2013

Bob and Mike Bryan are steadily laying claim to becoming one of the best doubles pairs of all time. Wimbledon.com brings you some of the other top doubles combinations at SW19.

1. Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000. In the tradition of classic Australian pairs, the left-right combination were at their very best on grass, winning six titles together and five on the spin from 1993-1997. Brilliant at the net, The Woodies complemented each other with a steely nerve.

2. Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986. As the finest grass-court player of her generation, Navratilova was almost more dominant in doubles than she was in singles. Her lefty serve was deadly on the doubles court and her volleying skills were unparalleled. With Shriver’s big serve and sound volley, they were nigh unbeatable.

3. John McEnroe and Peter Fleming 1979, 1981, 1983, 1984. Fleming once said that the best doubles pairing in the world was McEnroe and anyone. But while the sublime serve and volley skills of McEnroe made him the leader on the court, Fleming’s role should not be forgotten. His big serve gave McEnroe the chance to show off his skills. But McEnroe’s use of angles and his speed around the net was breathtaking.

4. Serena Williams and Venus Williams 2000, 2002, 2008, 2009, 2012.  In recent years, the Williams sisters have made the doubles court their own at Grand Slams. Huge serves and huge returns epitomise their doubles game and their power has been too much for their opponents on five occasions so far.

5. John Newcombe and Tony Roche 1965, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1974. In the 1960s and the first half of the 1970s, men’s tennis was dominated by Australians with five titles going to Newcombe and Roche. The power of the right-handed Newcombe was matched perfectly by the guile and mental strength of the left-handed Roche. They won three straight titles to end the decade and picked up their fifth nine years after their first.

6. Suzanne Lenglen and Elizabeth Ryan 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1925. For five years from 1919, when Wimbledon resumed after the First World War, France’s Lenglen and American Ryan, by now living in England, dominated the doubles title. They picked up another in 1925 and while Lenglen is well known for changing the face of women’s tennis with her singles exploits and fashion sense, Ryan won 19 doubles titles at Wimbledon alone.

7. Bille Jean King and Rosie Casals 1967, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1973. Like Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, nee Moffitt, was a real athlete and her all-round ability made her perfect for doubles. Between 1968 and 1973 they won five doubles titles together, also joining King in starting the women’s professional Tour.

8. Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997. American Fernandez and Belarusian Zvereva did not have the sheer power of some pairs but they made up for that with touch and class as they won four titles in the 1990s. As a pair, they won the most grand slam titles together since Navratilova and Shriver.

9. Reggie Doherty and Laurence Doherty 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1903, 1904, 1905. The brothers were born in Wimbledon and dominated the Championships in the early days, back when the tournament was just a Challenge Round. Encouraged to play tennis for health reasons by their father, so the story goes, they won eight years out of nine, only missing out in 1902 when they lost 11-9 in the final set.

10. Jonas Bjorkman and Todd Woodbridge 2002, 2003, 2004. It says a lot for Woodbridge that even after the retirement of Mark Woodforde, he was able to win three more Wimbledons. His choice of partner helped – Bjorkman was a top singles player whose ability to take the return of serve early was a huge factor in his doubles success. The pair worked perfectly together.

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