1 major goal achieved for Mahut-Herbert; next goal is gold
ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 27, 2019 06:53 PM
France's Nicolas Mahut, right, and compatriot Pierre-Hugues Herbet celebrate after defeating Finland's Henri Kontinen and Australia's John Peers in the men's doubles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019.(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
By John Pye, Associated Press
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Not long after Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut completed their career Grand Slam in men's doubles, the Frenchmen were already turning their attention to the next goal. And that's gold.
Mahut and Herbert beat Henri Kontinen of Finland and John Peers of Australia 6-4, 7-6 (1) in the Australian Open doubles final on Sunday, a match featuring just one service break. In doing so, they became the first French team and just the eighth men's doubles team overall in tennis history to win each Grand Slam tournament at least once.
The 37-year-old Mahut was asked if he'd now consider retirement. He ruled that out immediately, preferring to instead focus on his next significant priority: the Olympics in Tokyo.
The Frenchmen were the top seeds in the Olympic doubles tournament at Rio de Janeiro in 2016 but were upset in the first round.
"We have so many things to achieve. If you remember well, in 2016 in Rio, we didn't play that good, so I still have this in mind," Mahut said. "So I won't think about retirement (until) after the next Olympics. You can wait at least one more year, and then of course at the end of my career, at least, I could say that we won all four slams."
Herbert and Mahut won their first major doubles title together at the U.S. Open in 2015, then added Wimbledon in 2016 and the French Open last year.
"We knew when we won Roland Garros that it was the one missing, so for sure it added maybe a special motivation" for Australia, Herbert said. "It's always tricky because when you want something, you have to make the good decisions and to be in the good state of mind to be good on court.
"We wanted it, but we also wanted to be good on court on each match and we focused on the game, and that's why maybe today we could achieve what we achieved here."
Herbert and Mahut saved all four break points they faced Sunday, all while Herbert served in the fourth game of the second set.
The match's only break came when Kontinen served at 4-all in the first set.
Mahut said he didn't need any extra motivation when it came to winning major titles, and came to Melbourne Park with a focus on the final rather than the title.
"But now we can talk about it, and here we are," he said. "We have the four slams. So it's a great feeling."
Mahut didn't play in the singles draw after losing in the first round of qualifying, and said he's going to give it six more months before deciding whether or not he should continue to play both of focus more on doubles. The 27-year-old Herbert lost in the third round in the singles draw to big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic.
That left them both able to concentrate entirely on achieving their career Grand Slam.
Mahut and Herbert had a quarterfinal win here over fourth-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan, who were the most recent pair to complete the career Grand Slam when they won at Wimbledon in 2006. The Bryan brothers were reuniting as a team at Melbourne Park after Bob missed three majors last season because of injury.