By Alexander Burton: Woodforde/Woodbridge, Bryan/Bryan, Nestor/Zimonjic, these are teams that are synonymous with the modern doubles game.
Boasting numerous titles between them, they have dominated the team aspect of tennis for two decades between them.
Yet there is a challenge to the superiority of the top doubles teams. Llodra/Mahut, Pospisil/Sock, Paes/Stepanek, these are names that have crept into the equation recently.
All three of these teams have members that owe most of their career success to singles careers before trying their hand at doubles.
Llodra/Mahut may have become a more established doubles team, partly due to a runner-up finish at Roland Garros in 2013, but they are still the new kids on the block compared to the Bryans.
Sock/Pospisil’s recent Wimbledon doubles title raises some questions about the doubles game because of the manner in which they won.
They were a brand new team, with Sock’s Mixed Doubles title in 2011 a brief indicator of success on the doubles circuit. Yet they triumphed.
Not only did they beat the top-seeded Bryans in the final, but they beat en route to the final established doubles teams in the eighth,second,fifth seeded teams before taking down arguably the best team of the last decade.
Credit to the team obviously but it raises the question are doubles “specialists” losing their edge over the singles players that only dabble occasionally?
Sock/Pospisil are also joined by Radek Stepanek as recent singles-doubles converts, Stepanek succeeding with his doubles “specialist partner Leander Paes at the 2013 US Open.
Doubles specialists status has normally been regarded as an advantage but is it just a status afforded to doubles players because many of the singles players don’t play?