Aussies Hijikata, Kubler win Australian Open men's doubles
Rinky Hijikata, left, of Australia and compatriot Jason Kubler pose with their winners trophy after defeating Hugo Nys of Monaco and Jan Zielinski of Poland in the men's doubles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023.. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
The Associated Press
Published Saturday, January 28, 2023 10:35AM EST
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Australian pair of Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler defeated Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski 6-4, 7-6 (4) to win the men’s doubles title at the Australian Open on Saturday.
It was the first Grand Slam title for both Hijikata and Kubler — the third Australian team to win a men’s doubles title in the last five Grand Slams.
The Australians entered the tournament playing for the first time as a team.
“Rinky and I definitely didn't think this was happening two weeks ago,” Kubler said. “A bit of a pleasant surprise I should say.”
Kubler, who has battled knee injuries, said Hijikata approached him about playing together.
“He (Rinky) was actually the reason we teamed up for this tournament,” Kubler explained. “I wasn't sure I was going to play, then Rinky asked me and I decided to play. Two weeks later, now we've got this trophy."
Nys and Zielinski were also after their first Grand Slam title.
“Play Australians in Australia is never easy,” Zielinksi said in an on-court interview, drawing loud applause from fans at Rod Laver Arena where the match ended just after midnight local time.
Australia has a long history of strong doubles team. This pair was the 16th all-Australian team to win a Grand Slam men's doubles title in the Open era.