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Pro Media & News

David Wagner wins ninth Australian Open quad doubles title

Victoria Chiesa | January 26, 2022

Already owning one of the greatest careers in tennis history, David Wagner's latest Grand Slam title might be his most satisfying to date. Wagner and his partner, Andy Lapthorne of Great Britain, rallied to win the quad doubles titles at the Australian Open on Wednesday in grand fashion, coming from a set down to beat top seeds Sam Schroder and Niels Vink of the Netherlands, 2-6, 6-4, 10-6.

 

Twenty-two of Wagner's major titles have come in doubles. He's now won nine quad doubles titles in 15 appearances at the Australian Open dating back to 2007. 

 

"That match was intense, and we're playing the Paralympic gold medalists from Tokyo and the [year-end] Tour Finals champions. You're playing the future right there, and it's tough," Wagner told reporters after the match. "We stuck together and had a game plan and made it work. Andy hit some phenomenal shots. It was like sick to watch him push his chair and get to the balls that we needed him to get to."

 

With a grin, he added: "How does it feel to win? It feels F-word great."

 

The American-British pairing has won three of the last four major titles after triumphing at Roland Garros and at Wimbledon last year. Despite that, the veteran team were the clear underdogs in Wednesday's final against the 22-year-old Schroder and 19-year-old Vink, who they lost to in straight sets both at last summer's US Open, and just last week at the Melbourne Wheelchair Open.

 

Lapthorne and Wagner needed the full expanse of the 93 minutes on-court to take victory, staying the course after dropping the first set in short order. An early 4-1 lead helped the No. 2 seeds hold on to force a match tiebreak, where they pushed out to a 6-3 lead and held on through the end.

Photo credit: Getty Images

"There was no pressure out there for us really. Those guys have been tearing through for pretty much everyone for a long while now. So we lost to them last week in the warmup event so we knew coming out that we would be underdogs, and it frees you up a little bit to play a bit freer," Lapthorne said. 

 

"I felt we did that on the big points and they probably played a bit tighter than what they usually would because they were probably expected to win. ... Playing Roland Garros and playing the 10-point tiebreaker and playing Wimbledon and doing the same thing in the third set, it gives you confidence that if you can get into that situation, you've been there before, you've done it before, and you know how to play in those situations."

 

Added Wagner: "We have a game plan and we trust each other, and you can't get down on each other when you miss a ball that you're trying to really do the right thing on. You're going to miss balls, right? That was it. We just stayed on each other and with each other, together with each other, and we had some keywords to each other and we used those in the tiebreak. That really helped and was to our advantage.

 

"I think we kind of complement our games, complement each other pretty well. You know, Andy is a beast on the back and just can run down everything that everybody hits. I've never seen anybody who can get to as many balls as he gets to.

 

"Then I try to kind of take up the front of the court. I'm not as fast as these guys. Just try to use my hands and my touch, get a few lucky looks here and there. Stick a ball once in a blue moon if I get a chance. I think it just complements really well. You have the best guy who can run down balls in the back and then you have a decent guy up front. I think that just is a really good combination."

 

Lapthorne and Wagner have now won eight Grand Slam titles as a pair, but they hadn't won the Australian Open together since 2017. In each of the last four years, they finished as the runners-up. 

 

"You're playing the future of the sport, and those kids are strong and physical and good. We're just out there trying to survive against those guys sometimes," Wagner said. "All wins are great. It's not every day you get to play for a Grand Slam title. So just to be able to do that and rekindle up that partnership with Andy is pretty awesome, and to beat who is the best, really the best team out there right now, to be able to beat them is pretty satisfying, for sure."

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