Ken Skupski spoke of his pride at winning a silver medal with tennis doubles partner Ross Hutchins in the sport’s Commonwealth Games debut.
“I’m very proud of winning the silver,” he said after losing 4-6, 6-3, 3-6 to Australians Paul Hanley and Peter Luczak. “I spoke to my family back home and they’re extremely proud as well. It’s a dream come true to play here and represent my country.”
The 27-year-old from Liverpool put the pair’s defeat at the hands of Australian duo Paul Hanley and Peter Luczak down to “a couple of points”.
“It could’ve gone either way tonight,” said Skupski, ranked 57 in the ATP doubles rankings.
“These guys are among the best players in the world and we managed to match them. It came down to a couple of points but that’s doubles and we’ll work on it.”
Both pairs had qualified for the gold medal match after knocking out highly ranked Indian home favourites in Friday’s semi-finals so it was not a huge surprise when, following Mirza Sania’s defeat in the women’s singles final, and without Indian participation in the match, the R.K. Khanna Tennis Complex emptied just as things got underway.
Both pairs held their early service games and at 3-2 in the first set England missed a chance to break only to have Hanley and Luczak break their serve in the very next game. The Australians had beaten top seeds Bhupati and Paes in straight sets in the semi-final, and this was enough for them to take the first set 6-4.
Recovering well, Liverpool-born Skupski and Londoner Hutchins rallied to win the second 6-3. Having already broken the Australians, Skupski’s big serve on a break point at 5-3 was returned high and long and England leveled the match.
In the third, England fell 0-3 down when they lost their opening service game but hit back to break. At 3-4, Hanley and Luczak broke again meaning they would only have to win their service match to secure the gold.
They duly raced to a double match point and although England survived the first, neither player could do anything when a volley close to the net dropped into the open court to settle the best of three sets tie.
Having played together for silver, Skupski and Hutchins will now face each other across the net on Sunday as they are joined by Sarah Borwell and Anna Smith for the conclusion of the mixed doubles.
“Playing with Ross has been fantastic,” said Skupski. “We’ve had a great time and now we’ve got to play each other tomorrow for the bronze medal in the mixed doubles.”