Women's Tennis: Diede De Groot and Aniek Van Koot finding the right formula

2019 Australian Open - Day 13

The Calendar Grand Slam - it’s a rare and amazing feat within tennis. Heading into the final day of the US Open, it is something that three players on the wheelchair tennis tour still have the potential to achieve this year.

Dylan Alcott in the quads division and two women who admit that it “didn’t cross their mind” until they arrived at Flushing Meadows, Diede de Groot and Aniek Van Koot from the Netherlands.

So far they have won every doubles title on offer in their division at the Slams during the 2019 season, having triumphed at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon already this year. 

Whilst they are still one match win away from lifting the US Open doubles title and achieving the calendar slam, the dynamic Dutch duo of Diede de Groot and Aniek Van Koot have kept themselves in contention of adding it to their already long list of achievements with a strong performance during their semi-final.

And moving into Sunday's final, having seen Lion King on Broadway earlier this week, World No.3 Van Koot is reminded of a song from the show that sums up how they see themselves progressing as a partnership whether they get their hands on that elusive calendar Grand Slam today or not.

“I love the song Be Prepared so I’d say maybe be prepared for us to get better, be prepared for us to play really well together and be prepared if you meet us on court," she explained. 

Both also formidable singles players, together they have formed a partnership which has set not just the Grand Slam but also the UNIQLO wheelchair tennis tour’s stage alight.

And their secret to success is perhaps partially down to the fact that they go into every tournament, whether it be an ITF3 or a Grand Slam, with the same desire and will to win.

“I think every tournament is a new tournament and of course the US Open is a Grand Slam and a big deal but you want to do your best at every tournament and it’s just as important to win those matches as well,” Van Koot explained.

Their 2019 Grand Slam domination began with a match against a partnership they have met in three out of the four Slam semi-finals they’ve played this year, Yui Kamiji and Giulia Capocci.

It’s one which Van Koot describes as a match where “all the stars in the sky aligned” to see them play a consistently high level of tennis and win comprehensively in straight sets. 

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Their semi-final meetings in Paris and here in New York were much closer affairs, and De Groot feels those are more indicative of how competitive the match up between the two pairs can get.

She said, “They are really coming together as a pair and getting to know how each other plays."

But just as De Groot compliments Kamiji and Capocci on their developing doubles partnership, the same can be said of the doubles partnership she is one half of and the World No.1 credits getting to compete together more regularly this year as one of the things responsible for this.

“I think in the beginning we were definitely searching for the right formula and I can definitely notice the difference between then and now,” De Groot continued. “We get along with each other really well and it’s just really good to have a partner you know you can trust and is going to be there for you, whether you’re playing well or not.” 

Van Koot echoed her partner’s thoughts and also added, “She never stops and keeps motivating me and I think the more we play together we are increasing the good moments and lessening the less stable ones, and of course we get to celebrate together when things go well.”

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