South Africa’s Raven Klaasen in action during the 2019 Davis Cup. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
South Africa’s Raven Klaasen in action during the 2019 Davis Cup. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Raven Klaasen, Oliver Marach a US Open doubles combo of agility and aggression

By Herman Gibbs Time of article published Sep 1, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - South Africa’s Raven Klaasen and his Austrian partner Oliver Marach will be looking to make their mark as a doubles team on the world circuit at the 2020 US Open in New York.

Both players have been world top 10 ranked over the past two years and know what it takes to win a Grand Slam. Marach has already won a major and Klaasen is a two-time Grand Slam finalist.

They joined forces at the start of the season in Australia and since then have played five tournaments as a team.

“We would have played more tournaments together, but that was not possible due to the reduced schedule this year,” said Klaasen

They are seeded seventh and their first-round match tomorrow will be against Austrian Philipp Oswald and Marcus Daniell of New Zealand.

Klaasen and Marach have been living in the bio bubble in New York for the past two weeks. Their highly experienced South African doubles coach Stephan de Kock feels the pair are well equipped for their US Open campaign.

Klaasen at 37 years of age and Marach, 40, are very much the elder statesmen on the doubles circuit, and De Kock says their experience could stand them in good stead.

“One thing is certain they are both a bit older and wiser,” said De Kock.

“They have been around and know what it is like on the biggest of stages.

“They have two very different game styles which complement each other’s play. Klaasen is a player that is always looking to find his way to the net. Marach is more at home at the back of the court, and crafty.

Austria's Oliver Marach is looking for doubles success at the US Open with South Africa’s Raven Klaasen. Picture: Reuters

“Klaasen is agile around the net and wants to dominate with his volleys and net presence.

“Marach is aggressive with groundstrokes. He is always looking to create time and space to unleash his groundstrokes. He is also an aggressive server.

“Their game comes together really well.

“In other ways, we are looking to find better solutions and strategies so that they can create a bigger impact on matches.”

The record shows Klaasen (2014) and Marach (2010, 2019) have not progressed beyond the quarter-finals at the US Open.

There will also be a South African interest in the performance of the top seeds, Colombians Juan-Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, who also begin their title defence tomorrow. Their coach is Jeff Coetzee, Tennis South Africa’s Director of Tennis.

Instead of a Grand Slam doubles draw with 64 teams, it has been reduced to 32 teams because of Covid-19.

@Herman_Gibbs

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