By Jane Voigt
The No. 1 American doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan were upset by Fernando Verdasco and David Marrero in the finals at the ATP World Tour Finals this afternoon. The Spanish pair were playing together in their first-ever year-ending champions.
Seeded No. 6 this week, Verdasco and Marrero won one title this year, having accumulated 5 altogether. This is quite a contrast to the resume the Americans put together. They won 11 titles, 3 of which were Majors, and ended the year at No. 1 for the ninth time in the past 11 years. Finally, they also completed a career Grand Slam, after having won all four Majors in a non-calendar year. They are the first team in the Open Era to have earned this honor.
“We have a lot to be proud of,” Bob Bryan said. “We’ll definitely be back.”
As a naissant team at this prestigious invitation-only event the Spaniards victory sends a direct message to those singles players who believe they cannot straddle singles and doubles play throughout a season. Verdasco is the singles player of their team. He is currently ranked No. 30. Additionally, he competed in this event as a singles player in 2009, going 0-3.
Today’s final was a visual feast of hustle and flow, with fierce ground strokes and impossibly fast net action. Verdasco, the lefty, clocked one cross-court forehand at 117 mph. Serves timed at 130 mph and over seemed routine for the four.
“You guys were tagging the groundies,” Mike Bryan said, during the award presentation. “It’s a huge title. Congratulations.”
The Bryans won this event in 2003, 2004 and 2009. They are second all-time to the team of John McEnroe and Peter Fleming who won it 7 years in a row between 1978-1984.
Verdasco and Marrero won four consecutive matches, coming into the final, all in straight sets. Today they were pushed to their first super-tiebreak of the week. The scoreline was 75 67(3) 10-7.
Scoring for the tournament was no-ad, with a 10-point tiebreak determining the winners when teams split the first two sets. Twitter posts disparaged the ATP’s decision to use the no-ad format, but reasoned it is used throughout a season minus Majors. Singles play also followed its format, using best-of-three sets and regular scoring.
Verdasco and Marrero stormed their way to the finals, outdoing first-time qualifiers, Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo in the semifinals, 76(10) 75. Dodig and Melo defeated the Spanish men in the final at the Shanghai Masters last month. The revenge probably added jet fuel to the champions’ engines.
Verdasco and Marrero also defeated the defending champions, Mark Lopez and Marc Granollers, saving 10 out of 10 break points. The World Tour Finals winners are now 7-0 against their compatriots.
Although Verdasco can be volatile on court, his enthusiasm and determination helped get them through when Marrero got down on himself. Then in the awards’ ceremony, Marrero put his English to the test as he tried to dedicate their victory to his grandfather. He died two years ago today. Verdasco took the mic from his friend and conveyed the message to a sustained applause from 17,500 on-hand fans, as Marrero broke down in tears.
ATP World Tour Finals 2013 Prize Money
Singles Earnings (US$)
Participation Fee 142,000
Round-Robin Win 142,000
Semifinal Win 445,000
Final Win 910,000
Undefeated Champion 1,923,000
Doubles Earnings (US$)
Participation Fee 71,000
Round-Robin Win 27,000
Semifinal Win 70,500
Final Win 140,000
Undefeated Champion 362,500