Alice Mertens: ‘Maybe the medal chances are a bit…

Double pair Alice Mertens – Alison Van Uytwank have found each other. They have never played an official double match together. Wimbledon winner Mertens: ‘I can adapt easily.’ Van Uytwank: ‘I don’t see a problem.’

How compatible are Mertens and Van Uytvanck? They sometimes trained together in the Fed Cup as a double pair, but they never played an official tournament together – Mertens has already played with Kirsten Flipkens, but is in the rags basket.

It doesn’t look very promising. But Mertens is the kind of player who proved he’s a masterful chameleon suited to his partner de Root. She excelled with Demi Shures, she won Grand Slam tournaments with Arya Sabalenka, she won Wimbledon with Su-Wei Hsieh. Mertens: ‘Aryna played with a lot of power, Su-Wei was very touching, and both succeeded. I can adapt easily – I formed combinations with three players on my way to number one in the world. I will definitely decide the strategy in consultation. Van Uytwank: ‘I know Alice well, she knows me well. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I don’t really see any problem.’

Wasn’t it a logical choice to ski a few tournaments together during the season? Yesterday was in her first Olympic double training event, against Dutch girls. Mertens: ‘It was agreed in no time, because Alison didn’t know yet whether she could qualify for the Games. Well, his serve is good, and my net play should be able to complete him.’

Van Uytwank: ‘Ellis has her regular partner during the year, I also like to play with Greet (Minnen, HJB). It’s understandable, she’s my girlfriend.’

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Never played an official doubles match with each other for the first time at the Games, and immediately an Olympic medal? It just could be. After all, most Olympic doubles are occasional pairs. Mertens: ‘Singles is usually a priority for me in Grand Slam tournaments. But this is game. Maybe the chances of a medal in doubles are a little higher. There is no lack of preparation. Has he practiced Brabancon? Immediately Mertens began singing the Belgian national anthem.

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About the Author: Piers Parker

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