Roland Garros

Thursday, 2 June 2022

Paris, France

Ena Shibahara

Wesley Koolhof

Press Conference


7-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, champions. You won your first Grand Slam doubles, mixed doubles title. So can we have a few words from each one of you.

ENA SHIBAHARA: Yeah. Very happy about this win today. It is like a dream come true to win a Grand Slam title. So I'm still letting it sink in. I don't think it really hit me yet. Yeah, but for now I'm just really happy.

WESLEY KOOLHOF: Yeah. First ever mixed final. My second Grand Slam final after losing the men's doubles in US Open a few years ago. So, yeah, my first one. So it's very good to finally get the trophy, especially in mixed doubles with Ena. It's been a great week, or great two weeks, actually.

We've been playing very good tennis. I think we only lost the first set in the first match and after that we've been on fire, didn't lose any sets anymore, so I think, yeah, very happy with the trophy and with the title.

THE MODERATOR: English questions, please?

Q. It was a very tricky first set. Could you talk about the general performance there today?

WESLEY KOOLHOF: Yeah, true. I think we started very well, up 5-2 pretty fast, I think, very comfortable lead.

Then we kind of gave it away. I played a horrible service game at 5-4. They kind of took the momentum a little bit. Then we had to fight back in the tiebreak, 5-2 down, 5-4 down with Joran serving is never a good idea.

But, yeah, we managed to get two points off him and close out the first set. I think the second set we were better. We adjusted a little bit tactics-wise. It was a bit better from us, especially serving. Yeah, after, 5-2 up again, so luckily Ena showed me how to serve out the match.

Q. How were the nerves serving out the match and what was going through your head at that time?

ENA SHIBAHARA: I was pretty excited to serve it out. I kind of loved serving it out. But, of course, I had some trouble getting first serves in in the beginning, and so it was tough getting the points on the deuce side, but once I figured it out at 30-All, I felt pretty confident going into that match point.

Q. Your first event together. What makes you such an effective partnership?

WESLEY KOOLHOF: Should I go? (Laughing.)

Yeah, like I said, I think it was a bit of a rocky start in the first match. We lost that one 6-3 or 6-4. After that we've been playing very good. I think both, we can both play from the back as well, from the baseline. We are very good at the net as well. Obviously she has a good serve, which helps because normally that's always the one you're looking for to break, the women's serve. But I think Ena got, she -- did you get broken today? No.

ENA SHIBAHARA: No, I don't think so.

WESLEY KOOLHOF: No? I don't remember.

ENA SHIBAHARA: I don't think so.

WESLEY KOOLHOF: I don't think so, no.

So, no, I think that's part of the strength of us in our service games. Returning very good. I have an effective kick serve as well which sometimes helps. So I think we just, yeah, we glued together in the last 14 days. I think we've been very successful, yeah.

Q. You both achieved a lot, but where does this rank? It sounds a bit obvious, but it must be pretty special.

ENA SHIBAHARA: Yes, it's very special. Yeah, I mean, well, like I said on court, I grew up with a family of five, and so I was kind of, and we all kind of played tennis together, and they would played doubles, and I'm the youngest, so I'm always trying to fight for the spot to be the fourth player.

So they would always play mixed doubles and that is basically how I started my tennis. So it was very special for me to win this title in mixed doubles.

WESLEY KOOLHOF: Yeah, same here. I think, yeah, my best victory is obviously the 2020 Nitto Finals winning with Nikola Mektic, so that one is still very much on the top. I think this one is a very good second place. Yeah, it's a Grand Slam title, Grand Slam trophy, so I think it's, yeah, it's right up there with my Nitto Finals victory.

Q. The big question, how are you going to celebrate such a big win?

WESLEY KOOLHOF: Good question, we didn't discuss it yet. I don't know if you drink or not. No, actually I'm driving home in a few hours, so I cannot really drink, or else my girlfriend could drive, maybe.

No, we're going to have, I think we're going to have some food upstairs and talk it over a bit and hopefully everything sinks in and, no, we definitely are going to celebrate it a little bit, I think.

Q. So Ena accepted your invitation of Instagram message, so what words would you like to say to her and what do you think about to in the future to keep playing?

WESLEY KOOLHOF: Obviously thank you. Took her awhile to respond back. But, no she said yes and she was looking forward to playing. So we actually never met before, I just saw her a few times playing at the slams and the masters, so I knew what kind of game she had and thought it would suit me very well. So that's why I asked her and very happy she said yes. So, yeah, and this is the crazy result in the end.

We also didn't discuss yet for the future tournaments, but we will have a talk later and then see if we will play some more, yeah.

Q. Why did you want to partner with Ena?

WESLEY KOOLHOF: Why I asked her? Like I said, because I knew how she, I know how she plays, very powerful, very good from the baseline, very good at the net, very good serve, which is all very helpful, obviously, in mixed doubles because it's important to hold the woman's serve because that's the one normally gets broken the most during a match.

So, yeah, I like how she plays, very powerful and I thought it would suit me very well on the court to be next to her. And I think we combined everything very well in the last 14 days and this is the result in the end.

Q. Do you remember that you hit that backhand return ace when it was 5-0 on tiebreak?

WESLEY KOOLHOF: Yes, I remember that one.

Q. How did you feel about that?

WESLEY KOOLHOF: Felt very good. I was a little bit late, I think. I was a little bit, I was aiming for the cross but I didn't mean it to hit the line or maybe just in front of the line.

But, yeah, I hit it a little bit late, but I was very happy because I wasn't returning very good in the start, especially off Joran's serve I was struggling a little bit, but after Ena hit a crazy shot at 5-4 when she was serving I told her, Okay, maybe I also need to put one in here, which luckily I did and, yeah, it was a good return, yeah.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
121133-1-1044 2022-06-02 13:22:00 GMT

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