Familiar names, world champions, comeback stories and a pair of well known entertainers make up the men’s doubles acceptance list at the 2014 Australian Open.
Although they lost their chance at a calendar grand slam at the 2013 US Open, the top seeded team of Bob and Mike Bryan will make a go of the slam again in 2014, kicking off their campaign in Melbourne for a seventh Australian Open title. The third seeded team of Fernando Verdasco and David Marrero, fresh off their title at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals where they defeated the Bryans in the final are also in the draw, as are the second seeded team of Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares.
Melbourne will also see the re-entry of British player Ross Hutchins into grand slam competition. Hutchins spent 2013 treating and recovering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is once again playing with doubles partner Colin Fleming. Although the pair lost in the first round of Brisbane, they’ve had solid results at the slams in the past, reaching the quarterfinal at both Wimbledon and the US Open and the third round of the 2012 Australian Open.
But perhaps one of the only doubles pairings certain to gain a crowd to rival the singles matchups is that of flashy Gael Monfils with the equally flashy Dustin Brown. Although the Franco-German team aren’t necessarily doubles specialists (Brown does hold two ATP tour titles), they make up for it in flair, shotmaking ability, and entertainment value. It will definitely be a not-to-be missed encounter against whomever they draw in the first round.
For the Aussie fans, as of writing, the best chance for success rides with John Peers who will partner Great Britain’s Jamie Murray. The pair made the semis in Brisbane last week, losing to the eventual champs Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Daniel Nestor. Another Australian/Great Britain pairing includes Paul Hanley with Jonathan Marray. Samuel Groth and John-Patrick Smith will also join forces as the only all-Australian team entered in competition.