Italy’s Fognini, Bolelli make history to win Aussie Open doubles title
Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli became the first all-Italian team to capture a Grand Slam men’s doubles title in more than 50 years after beating the French pair of Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4, 6-4 in the Australian Open final on Saturday.
The last Italians to win a men’s doubles title at a major were Nicola Pietrangeli and Orlando Sirola at the 1959 French Open.
Fognini and Bolelli had come close before, reaching the semifinals at the 2011 U.S. Open and 2013 Australian Open.
"I think we did something amazing. Maybe we didn’t realize what we made today, but maybe tomorrow we’re going to realize better," Bolelli said. "For our nation, for our federation, for the people follow us, who support us, all Italian people."
Mahut and Herbert were playing in just their third event as a combination and had never won a match together before the Australian Open.
The newness of their partnership was evident in the first set when Mahut struck a serve that hit Herbert squarely in the head. Mahut gave his partner a kiss on the cheek and embrace, and Herbert recovered to win the next point with a volley winner.
Herbert also said he felt sick about 20 minutes before the match and could barely run. He took some medicine but he still felt out of sorts during the match.
"I felt dizzy the whole match. I had the feeling, it was maybe the worst minutes of my tennis career because I wanted to do everything for my partner, for everybody who was expecting something. And actually I couldn’t be 100%," he said.
They were attempting to become just the sixth all-French team to win a Grand Slam doubles title, and the first since 2004.