Tennis

Wimbledon Invitation Doubles – Tennis Legends in One Place

The 2023 Wimbledon is about to start and on top of the joy to watch the big stars of today in the men’s and women’s part of the tournament avid tennis fans can also go back down memory lane with the Invitation Doubles events that see ex-tennis players invited to compete and entertain the crowd in some thrilling doubles duels. Below, we explain in detail what the Wimbledon Invitation Doubles competition is, who has won it recently and when the draw will be announced. Once the competition starts we’ll also be giving you daily updates with results and schedule so make sure to stay tuned in.

Wimbledon Invitation Doubles
Laura Robson (right) alongside Daniela Hantuchova during the Ladies Invitational Doubles on day ten of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. Picture date: Wednesday July 6, 2022. – Photo by Icon sport

Wimbledon Invitation Doubles Explained

As the title of this competition suggests there is no qualification process for the Wimbledon Invitation Doubles, instead the organisers send out invites to former professional tennis players of their choice until they fill the quota of teams needed for the event to take place. The 2023 Wimbledon Invitation Doubles for Gentlemen and Ladies will be the 32nd edition of this competition. However, the mixed doubles made their debut only last year so this will be just the second time in history there will be 3 different sub-competition of this event: men; women and mixed doubles. The rules for all 3 sub-competitions are the same and here we’ll explain them for you.

Format

The Wimbledon Legends Invitation sees 16 former professional tennis players invited to take part in a competition that sees the 16 players forming 8 pairs. The pairs are then split into 2 round-robin groups. This guarantees that every pair plays a minimum of 3 matches.

Eventually, the winners of the 2 groups (group A and group B) face each other in a final showdown that decides the champions.

Set rules

Considering the fact that there is sometimes a significant age difference between the players invited the rules regarding sets and match length are designed to address that. For all Wimbledon Invitation Doubles, the length of the matches is the same. The matches are played in the best of 3 sets format, with the potential third set being a long tiebreak, the first pair to reach 10 points.

This ensures that almost all matches finish within an hour or so, giving the bodies of all these ex-professionals plenty of time to recover before they take to court again to thrill and entertain the crowds.

Mansour Bahrami
5th July 2022, All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, England; Wimbledon Tennis tournament; Mansour Bahrami (FRA) serves to Rennae Stubbs (AUS) in the mixed invitational doubles – Photo by Icon sport

Wimbledon Invitation Doubles Past Winners

The 2022 Wimbledon Invitation Doubles was historic in that it was the first time there was a Mixed Doubles competition. Some exciting players joined the competition, none more exciting than the Frenchman Mansour Bahrami. Known for his ability to produce countless comical moments when on court Bahrami attracted huge attention from the fans in 2022 and they can’t wait to see him again. Eventually, the historic first-ever Wimbledon Invitation Mixed Doubles champions became The Serb Nenad Zimjonic and his French partner Marion Bartoli. In the final, they beat the Aussie Todd Woodbridge and the Zimbabwean Cara Black 7-6, 6-1.

The 2022 Wimbledon Invitation Men’s Doubles saw the legendary American brothers Bob and Mike Bryan lifting the title in the 31st edition of this competition. The Bryans romped to the title without dropping a set in their 4 matches. In the final, they defeated Xavier Mallise (Belgian) and Marcos Baghdatis (Cypriot) 6-3, 6-4. This was the second time in a row players from the same nation lift the title. The previous winners were the Frenchmen Clement-Llorda.

The 2022 Wimbledon Invitation Ladies’ Doubles saw the legends Martina Hingis and Kim Clijsters lift the title after 4 easy wins without a dropped set. They took the crown from the 2019 champions Cara Black-Martina Navratilova, who were not defending their title as Black opted to join the mixed doubles event instead. The home fans had plenty of pleasant moments in this competition too as Hingis-Clijsters met in the final the Slovakian Hantuchova and her British partner Laura Robson. In the end, the official statistics showed that this final was viewed by a larger audience than the Ladies Doubles final. Clearly, showing that there is room for the Invitational Doubles at Wimbledon.

2023 Wimbledon Invitation Doubles Draw

The 2023 Wimbledon Invitation Doubles draw was made and we now know exactly who will be taking part in the Wimbledon Invitation Doubles this year. We personally can’t wait to see some of the stars from the recent past stepping out on the grass of Wimbledon yet again, all for our enjoyment and pleasure! Here is how the draw panned out for the 3 different competitions:

Ladies’ Invitational Doubles

Group A

In Group A the 2021 Ladies’ Wimbledon Invitation Doubles champion Cara Black has found a new partner in the ex-number 1 Caroline Wozniacki, who only just last week announced her return to professional tennis later this year. Here are also last season’s beaten finalists Hantuchova-Robson, with the Brit Robson certain to attract plenty of support and attention as they try to go one better in 2023.

King-Shvedova and Li-Radwanska complete the star-studded cast of Group A.

Group B

The defending champions Clijsters-Higins are in Group B and they will be the duo to beat once again this year. The other Brit in the competition Johanna Konta is also here with her Indian partner Mirza.

The all-Italian duo Schiavonne-Vinci and the always entertaining-to-watch pair Petkovic-Rybarikova complete the cast for the Ladies’ side of the event.

Gentlemen’s Invitational Doubles

Group A

In Group A the defending champions from the USA Mike and Bob Bryan will face some tough opponents. Grass-court specialists Haas and Philippousis have paired and they are seen as serious contenders for the trophy.

The other 2 pairs in the group are the Brazilians Sa and Soares + the interesting partnership between Stepanek and Grosjean.

Group B

Group B is where the local interest will be with the all-British pair Jonathan Murray – Jamie Delgado tipped to do well. They will find it hard to get out of the group though as some legendary players are with them. The Aussie Hewitt has paired with the American Blake and they look like a dangerous duo.

Last season’s beaten finalists Baghdatis and Malisse are back too. They looked very strong in 2022. Also, the heavy-serves Mlezer-Muller are in group B.

Mixed Invitational Doubles

Group A

In Group A the big favourites seem to be the legendary duo Woodforde-Navratilova. Here are also last season’s winner Zimonjic with his new partner Rennae Stubbs from Australia.

Another Wimbledon legend in Group A is Goran Ivanisevic. He’s paired with Iva Majoli to form an all-Croat duo. The final pair in the group contains the esteemed Eurosport commentator Barbara Schett and her Swedish partner Thomas Johansson.

Group B

This is where all the British interest is. Greg Rusedski and his Spanish partner Conchita Martinez will be crossing swords with the other Brit Anne Keothavong and her Swedish partner Thomas Enqvist.

The all-Australian duo Molik-Woodbridge is also in this group. So are, what promises to be the most enjoyable duo to watch – last year’s champions Marion Bartoli and her French partner and arguably the most comical player in the entire competition in terms of entertainment value Mansour Bahrami.

2023 Wimbledon Invitation Doubles Results Day 5

The 2023 Wimbledon Invitation Doubles got underway and here are the results from Day 5

Ladies’ Invitational Doubles

Group A

In Group A the big favourites Wozniacki/Black booked their place in the match for the title with a 3rd consecutive win. The favourites had to show character though as they lost the first set of their match vs Radwanska/O’Brien (the Brit Katie O’Brien replaced the injured Na Li for this match). However, strong push was enough and quick won in set 6-2 followed by an 10-6 tiebreak win saw Wozniacki/Black secure their spot in the match for the title.

In the other match of the group last season’s beaten finalists Hantuchova/Robson lost 0-6, 6-1, 3-10 against King/Shvedova in what was direct battle for the prestigious 2nd spot in the group. Both these pairs could have done more but ultimately neither found a way to beat the favourites.

Group B

In Group B the other big favourites Clijsters/Higins, who also happen to be the defending champions, easily booked their place in the final again with a 6-4, 6-1 win vs Konta/Mirza. Clijsters/Higins are yet to drop a set in this competition. They haven’t even lost more than 4 games in a set so far and they have looked like an unbeatable machine in all of their 3 group stage matches.

The other match in the group was only for pride and to avoid finishing with 3 defeats. In it the all-Italian duo Vinci/Schiavone triumphed 6-2, 6-4 over Petkovic/Rybarikova.

Gentlemen’s Invitational Doubles

Group A

In Group A the defending champions and big favourites once again the American brothers Bob and Mike Bryan booked their place in the final with another easy win. The Bryan brothers won all of their 3 group stage matches without dropping a set. They dominated every match of this group and have looked impossible to beat so far.

In the other match of the group Stepanek/Grosjean beat Black-Soares 6-4, 6-4 and with this all 4 pairs achieved at least 1 win in this competitive group.

Group B

In Group B the big crowd-favourites Hewett/Blake booked their place in the Sunday’s final with a third consecutive win. They breezed past the newly formed pair Inglot/Malisse (Baghdatis withdrew after the 2nd match without being injured) 6-3, 6-4.

The other clash in this group was only for pride and in it Melzer/Muller beat the all-British pair Marray/Delgado 6-4, 7-6 (3) to claim the 2nd spot in the group.

Mixed Invitational Doubles

Group A

In Group A last season’s champion Zimonjic and his new partner Stubbs made it to the match for the title after as walkover on the last day gave them 3 wins in 3.

Group B

Group B proved to be the most competitive with all 4 pairs winning at least 1 match and none winning all of their 3 matches. In the end the Aussies Molik/Woodbridge nearly reached the final after edging Enqvist/Keothavong 2-6, 6-3, 10-5. For a long time in this match it looked as if the pair that lost would win, but it wasn’t to be. In the end, despite this win their direct defeat 11-13 in the tiebreak vs Rusedski/Martinez meant they finished 2nd in the group.

In the other match Rusedski/Martinez had the unique chance to progress if they win 3rd consecutive match against the winless and already eliminated French duo Bartoli/Bahrami. However, Rusedski’s back injury resulted in the favourites losing set 1 3-6 and retiring after that. It was a sad end for one of Britain’s best players in history. Technically, Rusedski/Martinez won this group despite this withdrawal. They are set to play the final on Sunday but Rusedski’s back issues might see them leave that honour to the Aussie pair.

2023 Wimbledon Invitation Doubles Day 6 Schedule

On day 6 of the Wimbledon Invitation Doubles all 3 finals will be played and we’ll know our champions. The schedule is as follows:

On Court 1 the final match of the day in the evening session will be the Gentlemen’s Invitation Doubles clash between defending champions Bryan/Bryan and the crowd-favourites Hewett/Blake. The Bryan brothers have looked unplayable all tournament and they should be able to lift the title again.

On Court 18 the Ladies’ Invitation Doubles will conclude the day’s play with the evening match Black/Wonziacki vs Clijsters/Higins. It’s sad to say the ladies pushes on such a small court, especially when 3 of the 4 are true Wimbledon legends. Surely, questions will be asked from the organisers after the event but as things stand this is where this very exciting duel will take place.

The Mixed Invitation Doubles will open play on Court 4 around noon GMT. Last year’s champion Zimonjic and his new partner Stubbs are the favourite. They are still not sure who they will face though. Technically Rusedski/Martinez won Group B, but as Rusedski retired from his last match with a back injury it’s not certain they would be able to take to court. If they can’t compete the all-Aussie duo Molik/Woodbridge are waiting on standby.


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