“I was borderline for not playing” US Open champion reveals how close he came to missing out
The US Open was not the happiest of tournaments for most of those players who had recovered from Covid-19, but Bruno Soares, who went down with the virus shortly before the tennis resumption, celebrated his return to health by claiming his third Grand Slam men’s doubles title.
Soares could hardly have imagined such a scenario six weeks earlier, but the Brazilian and his Croatian partner, Mate Pavic, went from strength to strength at the US Open.
“In Brazil we weren’t in lockdown at the beginning like everyone else in the world because the wave didn’t really hit us until June,” Soares said from New York. “Right now the situation in Brazil isn’t great. A lot of people got infected – and I was one of them. It was very mild, but I isolated for 14 days. One day I just had a blocked nose.
“Three weeks before going to New York I decided to start testing myself every three days. This was just one of the tests that I was doing on a regular basis. It was my fourth test. The doctor told me not to do anything because I had to recover, so I didn’t do any practice or any fitness work for 14 days before coming here.”
Soares, who lives in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte, had just enough time to isolate and then fly to New York for the Masters 1000 tournament that preceded the US Open. However, Soares and Pavic lost in the first round to Marcelo Melo and Lukasz Kubot.
“I was borderline for not playing that week,” Soares said. “Luckily I then tested negative and was able to fly in here, but for 14 or 15 days before the tournament I hadn’t been able to do anything. The first couple of days I struggled a bit with my breathing. My condition just wasn’t there. But now I feel 100 per cent.”
Soares’ partnership with Jamie Murray ended last summer. He then teamed up with Pavic, but in their first three Grand Slam tournaments together the Brazilian and the Croatian had not gone beyond the third round.
In New York, however, Soares and Pavic won tight-three setters against Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos in the first round and against Jack Sock and Jack Withrow in the second before beating Murray and Neal Skupski in the quarter-finals. They then overcame Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau before beating Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Metkic in the final.
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