Kubot/Melo Show Past Success Was No Fluke
Before the end of last year, Poland's Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo of Brazil had played together only two times. But those two weeks in Vienna and the results they produced – two Erste Bank Open 500 titles and an 8-0 record – had convinced the pairing that they might have a future successful partnership between them.
They acted on those ideas this year, joining forces in January, and the results have been almost as perfect. During their first seven months as a team, Kubot and Melo posted a 36-10 record and captured five tour-level titles, including Wimbledon, Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Ricoh Open in 's-Hertogenbosch and two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns – the Mutua Madrid Open and the Miami Open presented by Itau.
From the start of the grass-court season to last Sunday, when they fell in the Citi Open final to Henri Kontinen and John Peers, Kubot and Melo had strung together 17 consecutive matches. Not a bad start for a new team on the ATP World Tour.
“We know each other. We respect each other a lot. We both practise really hard. We have the same mentality. We're very happy to have found the balance to be a really good team,” Melo exclusively told ATPWorldTour.com.
The veteran pairing – Melo is 33; Kubot, 35 – insists there is no secret to their seemingly instant success. They have a good balance of strengths, with Kubot's strong serving and net play complimenting Melo, who's known for his mental fortitude and superb volleying.
“We create a really good team, a balance. There are no holes to play against us, and we have many different ways to play. This is really important,” Melo said.
They've also had success because of old-fashioned hours on the court. Immediately following their 15th consecutive match win last week in Washington, D.C., Melo was itching to get back on the court for more practice.
“I think I need to improve a lot of things. That's why we've become a really good team. We work hard and I think we deserve it,” Melo said.
Despite their early success, they remain fixated on the day-by-day process of improving as a team. “We have done great so far, but the season is long. We need to stay focused,” Kubot said.
They have allowed themselves to look ahead a little bit, though. When they won Wimbledon, Kubot/Melo became the first doubles team to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 12-19 November at The O2 in London.
Melo will be making his fifth consecutive and overall appearance at the year-end championships. Kubot will be playing in south-west London for the fourth time – 2009, 2010 and 2014.
“I love to play it. I always enjoy it the most. My family comes,” Melo said. “For we doubles players, the atmosphere is really nice, the court is unbelievable. It's not a big tournament, just eight teams, so for sure we're going to enjoy it as much as we can.”