With a doubles championship point on their racquet leading 6-4 in the second set tie-breaker, Jackson Withrow and Nate Lammons stuck to their guns. Withrow placed a powerful serve confidently into the deuce court while Lammons eagerly awaited to put the ball away at the net if the opportunity presented itself.
Stylistically, we knew tonight would be a completely different matchup than our opponents in the semi-finals. We played two guys who return really well, and they punched us in the face early on by breaking our serves – our biggest weapon – in the first game of the match. Fortunately, we broke back midway through the first set and from there on it was a dog fight the rest of the match.– Nate Lammons in an post match interview
Lammons and Withrow’s low-key post-match celebration and humble remarks felt typical of what you might expect from two doubles players who don’t naturally gravitate toward the spotlight. In tennis, however, there is usually little time for celebration before moving onto the next event.
Withrow quickly left the tournament grounds to catch an evening flight to Los Cabos, Mexico, for this week’s ATP 250 event where they are the third seed. Lammons, on the other hand, opted for an early morning flight out the next day.
“Jackson is on the way to the airport as we speak, but maybe I’ll have a beer later for a short celebration” Lammons added, “It feels great to be the winner because, in our sport, it’s not often you get to finish your week with a win.”
With a full summer tournament schedule ahead, Lammons and Withrow might have to wait until the end of the season for a proper celebration, though.
“We’ll probably push a real celebration off until end of season or if we end up having an off week coming up. But we are going to Cabo this week, so maybe we can have a drink or two there to celebrate.”
Meet Nate Lammons & Jackson Withrow, A Fast Rising American Doubles Team
When you first meet Nate Lammons and Jackson Withrow, it’s easy to see how the U.S. top-ranked men’s doubles team has largely flown under the radar. But frankly, it’s not hard to fly under the radar in a discipline like doubles that too often falls in the shadows behind singles with staggering differences in prize money, exposure, and general fanbase.
Their demeanor is approachable; their personalities come across as down to earth; their interview responses are thoughtful; and their camaraderie seems effortless.
But when you watch the former NCAA tennis standouts play on the doubles court, their explosive game style feels anything but under the radar.
Lammons and Withrow both possess massive, reliable serves with a mix of firepower and variety that make it a tall task for opponents to break them when firing on all cylinders. While their serves anchor their doubles game, their powerful forehands, quick reflexes, soft touch, and natural doubles instincts help complement their serve-first strategy.
We’ve played well sporadically throughout our partnership, but now we are much more consistent. Open communication and accountability are two big strides we’ve made this year. Given the way we both serve, we’re always going to make it a close match against anyone we go up against. We can be streaky in our return games though, so we’ve been working hard on improving our returns and implementing more variety.– Nate Lammons
Paul Annacone says it best – we’re only as good as our average days. We’ve been taking that to heart literally all year. In doubles, consistency in small margins will keep making you better. We pride ourselves on our serves, hitting our spots and taking care of business at the net. The biggest change now is that we’re embracing the pressure moments more – which has been a huge mindset shift.– Jackson Withrow
Lammons & Withrow Claim Back-to-Back Titles in Newport & Atlanta
At the 2023 Atlanta Open, a U.S. Open leadup tournament that serves as the kickoff event for the North American hardcourt swing, Lammons and Withrow continued their winning ways by claiming their 3rd ATP doubles title together.
In the championship match, they defeated the talented Aussie duo of Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson 7-6, 7-6 in front of a packed Atlanta tennis community known for its love of doubles.
“Max and Jordan are extremely talented,” said Withrow. “Max is a Wimbledon doubles champion, and I’ve had success playing with Jordan in the past when we made the finals in San Diego. It’s pretty rare to see guys who are so comfortable on a doubles court while being primarily singles-focused. They get to play with a sense of freedom in doubles knowing they have singles as their main focus.”
Whereas Purcell and Thompson, both singles players ranked inside the top 75, can live a comfortable life on tour relying on their singles income, it’s a different story with full-doubles players like Lammons and Withrow. In every match, the stakes are high with their livelihood and ranking points on the line through every big win or tough loss together. Fortunately, they’ve been doing a lot of winning lately.
The week prior to Atlanta, Lammons and Withrow won the grass court ATP 250 title at the International Tennis Hall of Fame Championships in Newport. Throughout the week, they posted a 4-0 record with all four matches decided by consecutive third-set match breakers.
“Doubles margins are incredibly small,” Lammons continued, “All of our matches went to busters in Newport and a few here in Atlanta did as well. It would be nice to win in straight sets more often moving forward, but we’re always happy to be on the other side of those breakers after losing some close ones in the past.”
Lammons and Withrow’s Steady Rise in 2023
Doubles partnerships and results can come in many forms. Some teams partner together on a whim and fly up the rankings with one big result at a major that keeps them afloat for the remainder of the year. It’s common for players to switch partners frequently after a string of bad losses or in search of a partner with a higher ranking that can more easily gain them entry or a higher seeding into events.
Lammons and Withrow take the opposite approach where individual egos and ranking points are put aside for what is best for the team’s long-term goals. Their identical on-court outfits – black and blue, white and pink, or blue and white – exude a team chemistry and commitment which has become rare in the “grass is always greener” mentality you often see on today’s professional doubles circuit.
When we got back together last summer, we talked through some changes we wanted to make in terms of communication between the two of us. I think we’re at a great point right now. We’re both very open and honest in post-match analysis, and it shows that we’re both bought into the team aspect of our partnership.– Nate Lammons
In 2023, the top American doubles pair has posted an impressive 36-18 record (67% winning percentage) with highlights that include:
- Two ATP 250 titles in Newport and Atlanta
- Three ATP runner-up performances in Auckland, Dallas, and Acapulco
- One ATP 175 challenger title in Phoenix
- Semi-finalists at the Miami Open, a Masters 1000 event
- Quarterfinalists at Wimbledon
At Wimbledon earlier this summer, they achieved a new career milestone by advancing to their first major quarterfinals together. Along the way, Lammons and Withrow won their first three rounds without dropping a set before falling to the eventual finalists, Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos, 7-5, 6-4.
Although the tournament marked a grand slam milestone for them, Withrow left the All England Club feeling dissatisfied.
“I was pretty disappointed with how we ended our last match at Wimbledon,” Withrow said. “We had such a great run making it to the quarterfinals, but I didn’t feel like I played my best in that match. Maybe that’s also a credit to Granollers and Zeballos for making me feel that way. For the first time, I really thought this could have been our big tournament or first slam to win.”
Entering New Territory: Career-High Rankings Inside the Top 30
After winning 13 of their last 15 matches, Lammons and Withrow are riding the crest of a summer wave full of confidence and momentum. As a result, both players reached yet another new career milestone with career-high rankings of No. 29 (Lammons) and No. 30 (Withrow).
A tennis player’s ranking signifies far more than just a number. It can also mean a drastic improvement in prize money, prestige, and competitive playing opportunities against the world’s best teams on a weekly basis.
It’s all new territory for us. We barely missed the tournament cut in Atlanta last year, so this feels pretty special to come home with the trophy this year. From a lifestyle perspective, a top 30 ranking is different because now we’re getting to play a full calendar of tour events and Master 1000s [instead of mixing in ATP challenger events]. We were also seeded together for the first time at the French Open. All of the draws are tough, but it’s nice not having to worry about playing one of the top teams in the first round.– Nate Lammons
What’s Next for the Top American Doubles Team?
In tennis, every week marks the start of a new beginning. After winning the title in Atlanta, Lammons and Withrow packed their bags for a busy summer hard-court schedule with back-to-back events in Los Cabos, Cincinnati Open, and Canadian Open in Toronto. Similar to any American tennis player, their goal is to peak in time for the U.S. Open, the pinnacle of the North American summer hardcourt swing.
In the post-Bryan Brothers doubles era, the current ATP doubles game offers plenty of opportunity. Many teams have firmly established themselves at the top in recent years, including No. 1 Wesley Koolhof/Neal Skupski, Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury, Nikola Mektic/Mate Pavic (who recently split), and Ivan Dodig Austin Krajicek.
Few, however, have sustained dominance like we’ve seen in the singles game over the last few decades with The Big 3 and Serena.
I think everyone can see the field is pretty wide open right now. We respect all the top teams and know that tennis is a sport where any hungry team can see a window and take it. Older generations of teams are starting to weed out, and we’re seeing a lot of new teams take advantage of openings every week.– Jackson Withrow
Lammons and Withrow are one of many teams eager to strike while the iron is hot and insert themselves in the doubles conversation. As the U.S. Open series kicks off, they currently sit in ninth place in the ATP Finals race to the end-of-year championships in Turin.
This tournament reserves itself for the game’s doubles elite with the top 8 teams of the year squaring off in a round-robin style format. But if you ask Lammons, qualifying for Turin is the least of their worries right now.
“Everyone keeps reminding us where we are in the ATP Doubles Race.” Lammons added, “Personally, I prefer not to look at the numbers, but sometimes I know it’s impossible to ignore. If we can continue to improve and make deep runs at a slam or Masters 1000 events, then I would count that as a win. If we’re in a position to qualify for Turin at the end of the year – that’s a great bonus – but it’s not our main focus right now.”
For Lammons and Withrow, a steady climb guided by incremental gains and a team-first mentality has proven to be the winning doubles ticket thus far. Regardless of how the year-end rankings and doubles race turn out by the end of 2023, it’s evident they are committed to fighting through the wins and losses on their own terms, together.
We love being back in the states and want to carry this confidence into the rest of the summer hardcourt swing through the U.S. Open. It’s easy when you’re winning to embrace all of those good moments together. It has also instilled a mantra for us that we want to go after the top teams and take matches on our own racquet.– Jackson Withrow