The ‘Ultimate Doubles Player’ series has examined the shots and skills that make for thrilling doubles matches on the ATP Tour. One question still remains: who is the toughest doubles opponent?
One player was mentioned most often: Henri Kontinen.
“He seems to come up with the goods when he needs it,” said four-time Nitto ATP Finals competitor Raven Klaasen. “It’s hard to plan for someone who has such a wide array of shots and different ways to beat you.”
Learn more about why players find it tough to play Kontinen as well as the Bryan Brothers, Nicolas Mahut, and more.
“He plays a style of tennis for me that’s difficult to deal with on the power front… On any given day he could beat you with what you would consider his ‘B’ plan and he’s got the ability to play tennis at an aggressive level that sometimes feels like he’s taking the game out of your hands. That’s not nice when you’re trying to make a game plan and someone’s able to take the game out of your hands.” – Raven Klaasen
“My record against him is awful… we have a laugh and a joke about it that he’s my Krypton factor. He’s just a really tough player. He’s obviously been at the top of the game and he still is, on his day. When he hits top form, he’s someone you don’t want to face.” – Ken Skupski
“When he was at his best, that guy, when he was sharp, he could go 200 on both serves and returning bombs, so he doesn’t give you rhythm. He makes you doubt all the time because you don’t have rhythm and he was on fire all the time making shots and had the talent to make really crazy shots.” – Juan Sebastian Cabal
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan
“We played many times against each other. They were always the toughest matches. We always had to play the best to beat them. The Bryans for sure, for most of the players they were the toughest ones.” – Marcelo Melo
“I can’t separate the two. Not only have they done so much for doubles as a sport and helped us continue having this sport and making it thrive and trying to make it successful, so I forgive them for always beating me. It’s tough not to pick them as toughest opponents. They’ve been unbelievable, outstanding, ever since I met them for the first time in ‘97.” – Robert Lindstedt
“He’s the guy who is always bringing a really high level. When he is on, especially in the later rounds of tournaments, he is always bringing his best. Definitely he is tough to play. He was a great singles player, and he does not have many weaknesses. It’s challenging to play against him.” – Filip Polasek
“He’s just an all-around great player and I’ve never beaten him. It’s just tough to know the best way to play against him. He’s got all the shots. He’s the toughest one I’ve played.” – Joe Salisbury
“There are so many great players out there, but he brings a super high level of energy and intensity every single match, every single tournament, that’s pretty much unmatched in doubles. Even if you’re beating him and having a good day, and you feel like he’s maybe going to go away, he just doesn’t. He competes and fights until the very end.” – Rajeev Ram
“He was a guy who bothered me a lot because he had a huge presence at the net and one of my best shots is my return, something that I trust a lot. Lee was always putting me to the test, always putting a lot of pressure, never leaving me space. He was always getting in front of you, so it was always very tough for me to play against him, because he never left me comfortable to hit returns and put pressure on the guys.” – Bruno Soares
“I don’t like playing against Pierre-Hugues Herbert. When he’s playing really well I feel like he’s a very tough opponent. I feel like he can do everything well: serve well, return well, volley well, groundstroke well. He has a very good partner usually with Nico. If I play against Bruno, I can say, ‘Okay, I can go here and I’ll still have a shot’, or if I play with this other guy, there’s always something you can go to and maybe he’s going to miss there. But when Pierre is playing well, I don’t feel like there’s a spot to go to.” – Robert Farah
“It will be one of the toughest matches. It’s not going to be nice. We’re not going to be able to relax and just play. I played a match last year in Cincinnati with Jamie against Andy Murray on the doubles court. You could just feel the tension on the court, it wasn’t nice. In the future I’m sure me and Ken will play against each other at some point, so not looking forward to that.” – Neal Skupski