Australian wildcards Jason Kubler and Rinky Hijikata have created history by capturing the Australian Open 2023 men’s doubles title.
Melbourne, Australia, 29 January 2023 | Leigh Rogers
Jason Kubler and Rinky Hijikata have completed a fairytale run in the Australian Open 2023 men’s doubles competition.
The Aussie wildcards, who teamed up for the first time this fortnight, clinched their maiden Grand Slam title with a remarkable 6-4 7-6(4) victory in tonight’s final at Rod Laver Arena.
The exuberant competitors showed nerves of steel in the biggest match of their life, defeating world No.36 Jan Zielinski and world No.40 Hugo Nys in 83 minutes.
“I don’t know what to say,” Kubler said. “Rinky and I definitely didn’t think this was happening two weeks ago, so it’s a bit of a pleasant surprise.”
THIS CHAMPIONSHIP POINT. 🤯
Your moment, Rinky & Kubes 🔥#GoAussies • #AO2023 pic.twitter.com/10FXsAMRJa
— TennisAustralia (@TennisAustralia) January 28, 2023
The Aussie duo become the fifth unseeded team to win an Australian Open men’s doubles title in the Open era and only the second wildcards, following in the footsteps of last year’s champions Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios.
“This is the highlight of the career for me honestly,” Kubler said. “Still it hasn’t 100 per cent sunk in yet. It just feels, I don’t know, almost surreal a little bit.”
Hijikata agreed, acknowledging their title-winning run exceeded all expectations.
“I think we were just happy to be in the draw, to be honest,” Hijikata said. “We looked at our draw, we were like, ‘Geez, if we could win one match or so, that would be a pretty good effort’.
“It’s been a ridiculous two weeks … I can’t really believe this just happened.”
Hijikata and Kubler eliminated seven of the world’s top-20 doubles players during their stunning title-winning run, which also saw them save a match point in the third round.
“Just having so many people behind you, it’s hard not to get up for it,” Hijikata said, acknowledging the support they have received from Melbourne Park crowds this fortnight.
“It’s hard not to kind of back yourself in the moment, really enjoy it. This is what you play for, being able to play a home Slam. There’s nothing better.”
Hijikata and Kubler are the 14th all-Australian team in the Open era to win an Australian Open men’s doubles title – and just the 16th across all Grand Slams.
|Australian Open men’s doubles
All-Australian champions in Open era
|Rod Laver/Roy Emerson||1969|
|John Newcombe/Tony Roche||1971, 1976|
|Ken Rosewall/Owen Davidson||1972|
|John Newcombe/Malcolm Anderson||1973|
|Ross Case/Geoff Masters||1974|
|John Alexander/Phil Dent||1975|
|Ray Ruffels/Allan Stone||1977|
|Peter McNamara/Paul McNamee||1979|
|Mark Edmondson/Kim Warwick||1980, 1981|
|John Alexander/John Fitzgerald||1982|
|Mark Edmondson/Paul McNamee||1983|
|Todd Woodbridge/Mark Woodforde||1992, 1997|
|Thanasi Kokkinakis/Nick Kyrgios||2022|
|Rinky Hijikata/Jason Kubler||2023|
The result means an all-Australian team has now captured three of the past five Grand Slam men’s doubles titles, which includes Matt Ebden and Max Purcell’s triumph at Wimbledon last year.
🇦🇺 RINKY & JASON 🏆#AO2023 champions! pic.twitter.com/hHuHNHcQlA
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 28, 2023
The 29-year-old Kubler, who started the tournament ranked No.163, is projected to rise to a career-high world No.33 and become the new top-ranked Australian doubles player.
While No.277 Hijikata, who was only contesting his third tour-level doubles tournament, is set to skyrocket to world No.35.
“It’s been just crazy. It’s so much fun,” Hijikata said. “I’m hoping that this is just the first of many Aussie Opens in front of support like that.”
AUSSIES IN ACTION – Australian Open
Men’s doubles, final
[WC] Rinky Hijikata (AUS)/Jason Kubler (AUS) d Hugo Nys (MON)/Jan Zielinski (POL) 6-4 7-6(4)
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