The 2022 Wimbledon Championships concluded on an all too familiar note. Novak Djokovic won his seventh Wimbledon trophy and 21st grand slam title against Nick Kyrgios in front of a packed Centre Court stadium.
With The Big 3 now only one major apart at 22 (Nadal), 21 (Djokovic), and 20 (Federer), their chase for history heightens with each major. This evolving narrative, along with Serena’s quest to tie Margaret Court’s 24 majors, has formed the centerpiece of tennis grand slam conversations for much of the last decade.
In the current decade, however, another lesser-known player has been just as dominant on the grand slam stage. Off the court, she may lack the global star power, singles acclaim, and endorsements of the Big 3 and Serena. On the court, her recent grand slam results have been equally as impressive.
American Desirae Krawczyk, a top 10 WTA doubles player and former NCAA standout at Arizona State University, has won four of the last six mixed doubles majors in 2021 and 2022. During this time, only Novak Djokovic has achieved a similar feat in a single event by winning four singles majors in his last six attempts.
Behind Krawczyk and Djokovic, other multiple grand slam champions over the last two years include the top women’s doubles team of Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova (three women’s doubles majors), Rafael Nadal (two men’s singles majors), and Ash Barty (two women’s singles majors).
Back-to-Back on the Grass at Wimbledon
While most of the mixed doubles attention at Wimbledon this year centered around marquee teams like Venus Williams/Jamie Murray and Coco Gauff/Jack Sock, Desirae Krawczyk quietly flew under the radar without a flinch.
She and partner Neal Skupski, a native Brit who was also a former NCAA standout at LSU, successfully defended their 2021 Wimbledon mixed doubles title with a 6-4, 6-3 defeat over Australians Matt Ebden and Sam Stosur.
They became the first mixed doubles pair to win back-to-back Wimbledon titles since the Czech team of Helen Sukova and Cyril Suk in 1996-1997. Krawczyk also finished as a semi-finalist in women’s doubles alongside good friend and former University of Virginia star, Danielle Collins, who also made the Australian Open final this year in singles.
Krawczyk’s Wimbledon victory was no surprise to anyone who has been following her trajectory. In 2021, she completed a mixed doubles three-peat with consecutive major wins at Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open. In addition to capturing Wimbledon with Skupski last year, Krawczyk teamed up with ATP World No. 1 Joe Salisbury to win both the French Open and U.S. Open.
Why Aren’t There More Mixed Doubles Specialists?
It’s not often we see one player or team dominate mixed doubles. Why? Because opportunities to play are limited.
Apart from the four majors, only two other events have historically featured mixed doubles: The Olympics (which takes place once every four years) and Hopman Cup (an annual exhibition). While Hopman Cup was discontinued after 2019 in place of the ATP Cup, many tennis enthusiasts are speculating about its potential return in 2023.
At the grand slams, many players often enter mixed doubles as an afterthought. Some players casually team up with different partners every tournament or only participate sporadically when asked. Others view mixed doubles simply as practice for their top event, whether it be singles or men’s/women’s doubles.
Krawczyk is reversing the traditional mixed doubles narrative and becoming a legitimate force at the top of the game (not to mention a sought-after partner).
I love it when a doubles team sticks together and builds a dynasty. It will be exciting to watch Desirae Krawczyk and Neal Skupski try to win an unprecedented 3rd consecutive Wimbledon mixed doubles title in 2023. That’s a great story to watch for next year.”David Law, Host of The Tennis Podcast (Wimbledon Daily Recap, Episode 12)
With four majors on her resume, Krawczyk is currently tied with fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands among active WTA players with the most mixed doubles grand slam titles. Jamie Murray is the only other active player, man or woman, who holds more mixed doubles majors (five).
Although Murray didn’t win Wimbledon this year, his unexpected partnership with Venus Williams brought mixed doubles to the forefront at the All-England Club. Perhaps more than any other major, Wimbledon has been the proud host of several high-profile mixed doubles teams in recent years.
Venus Williams and Nick Kyrgios partnered together in 2021 while Serena Williams and Andy Murray (“Ser-Andy”) teamed up in 2019 to the delight of the British home crowd.
While Krawczyk may not reach their level of stardom, you will hear her name much more in the coming years if she continues this level of mixed doubles dominance.
Making Her Mark on Mixed Doubles History
So where does Desirae Krawczyk stack up in history compared to our sport’s mixed doubles greats?
- She is one of only three women to capture three mixed doubles grand slam titles in the same calendar year, alongside Martina Hingis (2015) and Martina Navratilova (1985).
- She and Martina Hingis are also the only women in the Open Era to win four mixed doubles majors in six consecutive attempts.
- With one more mixed doubles slam, she could equal WTA doubles legends Cara Black, Lisa Raymond, and Katarina Srebotnik at five major titles.
- If she continues her mixed success, she could eventually join the ranks of Martina Hingis (7), Martina Navratilova (10), and Billie Jean King (11) as the most elite mixed doubles players in Open Era history.
Not bad company, right?
At age 28, she’s still relatively young for tennis standards… and even more so in doubles. Navratilova won her final mixed doubles major at the 2006 U.S. Open. She was 49!
Who’s to say she won’t get there?
If nothing else, Desirae Krawczyk has become a welcome dominant force in a competition often overlooked by many top players. Her results have helped shine a light on one of our game’s best kept secrets – and possibly most untapped resource.