Simon Reed

Guest blog: Nestor on doubles life

Simon Reed

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The world's leading men's doubles players are also in action at the ATP World Tour Finals in London, where world number one Daniel Nestor reflects on his successful transition from singles.

You had a very respectable career in singles and broke your way into the top 60 before deciding to switch to doubles. How did that come about?

In 1999 I had my best ever season in singles but at the end of the year I injured my shoulder and had to have an operation. When I came back I started playing well again and I picked up a few good wins. But then my elbow started to play up and overall my body was starting to suffer from the physical demands that singles tennis makes of you. So that's why I decided to give doubles a go and it didn't hurt anywhere.

By 2000 I was already 28th in the world and I was still only 28. I said to myself it was maybe time to focus solely on doubles and to make an impact as well. It was perhaps also a way for me to make a better living than I could ever have done in singles.

There is a quite a difference between being a singles and a doubles player. For a start you don't get the same kind of media attention.

Yes, absolutely. Doubles players don't get the same amount of respect as the singles players do, which is understandable really. It was also difficult for me to give up singles because my feeling was I could have done better.

But on the other hand, when you get to the top of your sport, which is where I am at the moment, you earn respect. And once I started focusing on doubles my game really improved. I got better at the net and my reflexes became sharper. My serve's still not that bad and I understand the game better, and since becoming a specialist I've rarely been out of the top five in the world.

Do you think the doubles game is promoted enough?

Things aren't bad at the moment, especially with the introduction of the new scoring system (the super tie-break, which is played instead of a third set, and one point takes the game system from deuce). We are also playing more and more games on the big courts, which means we're getting on TV sometimes, though I do think we should be appearing more often. But the best way to promote the game is to play really well.

With Nenad (his playing partner Nenad Zimonjic), I've won nine tournaments this season including five Masters 1000 events and a Grand Slam (Wimbledon). And we can maybe even match what the Bryans (brothers Bob and Mike) have done.

They got people talking about doubles because they are twins, they are amazing to watch and they're American. They've dominated the scene for the last three or four years and everyone knows their names. They're below us in the rankings at the moment but they still get most of the attention, which can be a bit irritating at times. One other important factor is that more and more singles players are now playing doubles.

Which is better in your opinion: to be world number 60 in singles or world number one in doubles?

That's a good question and a difficult one to answer. If you had to compare me to Frank Dancevic (the current Canadian number one in singles), I'd say he doesn't get the recognition he deserves.

In Canada you've also got the problem of competing with the traditional North American sports. He only gets on TV a couple of times a year at most, so how can he get more exposure when that's the way things are? I think my doubles final at Wimbledon got more coverage than his first and second-round matches at the Canadian Open.

You are 37 now. Do you feel like retiring yet?

No, not yet. I don't want to be forced to retire because I've slipped down the rankings and no longer get invited to the big tournaments. I'll stop when I'm ready to do so.

I love competing and everything is going great for me at the moment. I can't complain about anything at all. My doubles career has been fantastic and I still have goals like winning more Grand Slam titles.

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