It’s been a good Asian Swing for my partner, Raven Klaasen, and I. We didn’t finish the US Open like we wanted to so we came in with some fire knowing we were in sixth place to get to the year-end championships. I’ve never played there before. I hope to tell you how it is! It’s certainly everyone’s goal at the beginning of the year to play in the crown jewel of our sport because it basically means you’ve had consistently good results throughout the full course of the year. Just to be in it would be great and hopefully we get to experience that.
We won in Chengdu and made the finals in Tokyo last week so we put ourselves in a good position for London. Unfortunately, we could’ve done a little bit better here in Shanghai, losing to Nenad Zimonjic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
One thing that’s changing about the doubles game is that there are so many singles players playing. The No. 1 team in the world is two good singles players in (Nicolas) Mahut and (Pierre-Hugues) Hubert. You also have Feliciano Lopez, Marcel Granollers, and I consider myself in that league. So I feel like the game itself is changing into being a lot less about quick points and more about being a good tennis player.
It means a lot of the guys that are playing only doubles have to add a lot of dimensions to their game. That only raises the level of the sport and the attraction towards it. Anything we can do to make our product better, whether it’s singles or doubles, is a very good thing. I think doubles is heading in a good direction.
I haven’t played a whole lot of mixed in my life but I had some good results this year reaching the finals of the Olympics and the US Open. I’m going to chalk it up to having great partners! Venus (Williams) is a legend of the game and Coco (Vandeweghe) is playing great. Mixed doubles is maybe a little more light-hearted, but when it gets to the end of the tournament, it’s still a Grand Slam final on the line.
At the Olympics, we were as serious as we could be because you’re playing for a medal, you’re playing for your country. It’s nice that we played another American team in the final in Jack Sock and Bethanie Mattek-Sands. We had four players from the same country standing on the podium which was pretty cool.
I have to talk to Raven and figure out whether we’re going to fly to Stockholm early where we’re entered next week. The difficulty of being a tennis player is the travel. Traveling can throw so much at you – flight delays, traffic – so you have to be ready for anything.
One time I was flying back from Seoul to San Francisco. We flew pretty much half way and then had to turn around because there were people on the plane who they thought were on some kind of no-fly list, so the US and Canada wouldn’t let them land. We flew like twelve hours just to get back where we started! But you can’t freak out too much because that doesn’t really help.
The fans make it worth it, though. It’s a lot of fun when you see people who know what you do and appreciate what you do. Obviously the top players get that exponentially, but even at our level, singles, doubles whatever, it’s always nice to feel that someone is actually watching you and you’re inspiring them in some way, so I appreciate people doing that. Thank you to all our fans!