From the Daily Post
LIVERPOOL’S Ken Skupski admitted friendship was put to one side at the weekend as he and partner Sarah Borwell claimed mixed doubles bronze at the Commonwealth Games.
It was an all-English affair in the bronze-medal match as Skupski and Borwell faced off against team-mates Ross Hutchins and Anna Smith in the Indian capital.
The medals looked to be going the way of Skupski’s opponents early on as Hutchins and Smith took the first set 6-4.
But the tide turned thereafter with Borwell and Skupski bouncing back to take the next two sets – and the bronze medal – at a relative canter, 6-3, 6-2.
And while quick to admit he had to take the blame for their early wobble Skupski was also anxious to praise his and Borwell’s ruthless streak in putting country solidarity to one side in Delhi. “It was a tight first set, I let a call get to me at the start of that game – at 5-4 – and I shouldn’t have let that happen,” said Skupski. “Unfortunately that lost us the set but fortunately I regrouped and managed to keep calm.
“We managed to get the break fairly early in the second set and we were able to keep the momentum and that was really important.“If you can keep on top of the girl’s serve you’ve got a good chance and we were able to do that later on in the match.
“There’s a medal at stake so no matter if it’s your brother, family, best friend, you go on court and they’re your worst enemy for a couple of hours. But we’ll walk off together and have a good chat. It’s one of those things, you have to be professional at your job and we’ve done that today and got the reward.
“It’s sad that somebody has to lose but we’re happy, of course to take bronze.
“Representing your country is the pinnacle for me. Playing Davis Cup, playing the Olympics, playing this, representing my country is all I’ve ever wanted to do and I’m so proud.”
The bronze medal was a fitting end for Skupski and Borwell who had never played together ahead of the Indian event – brought together by their shared coach, Louis Cayer.
And having claimed a spot on the podium in Delhi Skupski set his sights on making their marriage of convenience a permanent arrangement.
“We’d never played together before this week,” added Skupski. “We’d worked together because our coach is the same and all credit to him for putting us in this position. Without him we probably wouldn’t be here.
“We’d had time on court together but we had never actually played a match and it’s a great feeling to get a medal. It would be nice if tennis came back to the Commonwealth Games because we’d definitely consider playing it again if we got chance.
“Our goal is to play at the Olympics and maybe we could play together, who knows?”