Neal Skupski made his Wimbledon dream a reality as he and Wesley Koolhof stormed to the men’s doubles title at the All England Club.
Skupski was looking to make history, becoming the first Brit since Jonny Marray 11 years ago to claim the men’s doubles title at Wimbledon – and just the second in the post-war period.
And, following his mixed doubles triumphs in 2021 and 2022, he was aiming to become the first Brit since Dorothy Round in 1937 to win a Wimbledon title for three consecutive years.
Those mixed titles were undoubtedly sweet for the 33-year-old but he never hid away from the fact it was a men’s doubles crown he wanted more than anything, and nowhere else more than Wimbledon.
He had only reached one quarter-final at SW19 previously – alongside older brother Ken in 2017 – while he and Skupski lost their major final as a pairing at the US Open last September.
The top seeds were favourites for this final but faced a tough test in the form of 16th seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos, also finalists here in 2021.
Ultimately, it was a comprehensive display from Skupski and Koolhof, who prevailed 6-4 6-4 in front of a thrilled Centre Court crowd – making him the first British man in a 100 years to claim both the mixed and men’s titles.
“It’s surreal, growing up, watching these amazing Championships on TV, and starting off as a young boy at Palmerston Tennis Club in Liverpool,” said Skupski on court afterwards.
“Going out there as a small boy with my Dad, and then going out there with my brother.
“This feeling doesn’t get better. Me and Wesley came together 18 months ago and this year, this was one of our goals – to win a Grand Slam. To have done it, it feels incredible.”
Much of the talk before the final was about whether older brother Ken would be present, having mistakenly booked a holiday for this week.
And afterwards Skupski Jr revealed that his brother had made a quick trip back home to watch him in the biggest match of his career.
He added: “He did go to Ibiza – for probably 14 hours and came back.
“After the semifinal, he drove back straightaway after the semifinal, back to Liverpool. Obviously it took four or five hours. He got back around I think 11:00. He had a 2am alarm, and drove to Manchester Airport with his family.
“He got to Ibiza around 9:30, enjoyed the day there, and had a 1 a.m. flight this morning back from Ibiza that was delayed a couple of hours. He got into Gatwick at 4:30am, and slept in a pod at Gatwick Airport.
“I couldn’t thank him enough for coming back. It just felt like a normal team environment like it has been for the last two weeks. He can enjoy family time now and come back whenever he wants to now!”
For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website