Tribute planned for grand slam champion

Published 10:07am 30 January 2023

Tribute planned for grand slam champion
Words by Nick Crockford

Mango Hill is planning to formally recognise its most famous sporting son – new Australian Open Grand Slam winner Jason Kubler.

The tennis court at Danzy Buchanan Park, where Kubler played as a youngster and his mum Lyn managed bookings for 26 years, is set to be named after the family.

Mango Hill Progress Association (MHPA) approved the proposal, in principal, last year and President Laurence Christie said: “It is now a matter of doing it."

“We intend to go through the process. It was always about the family and I hope it (naming the court) can be done in a matter of months,” he said.

MHPA paid tribute to Kubler on Facebook saying: “Jason Kubler, you have made your family proud, your Mango Hill community proud, and yourself proud!”

Teaming-up for the first time, the 29-year-old and Rinky Hijikata produced a stunning performance in the men’s doubles on Saturday night at Rod Laver Arena.

Surprise

The duo had beaten three seeded teams, including the top seeds, before the final which they won 6-4 7-6 against Monaco’s Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski, of Poland.

It was Kubler/Hijikata’s first grand slam title and for Kubler, made up for last year’s mixed doubles final defeat on the same Melbourne court.

"I think after we wake up tomorrow, we'll really realise what we've just done,” Kubler, said on the Australian Open website.

“I saw a photo after our semi, it said we only won eight or nine matches on the ATP Tour before. Now we have a Grand Slam title.

"For me, I didn't know if that was ever going to come true. Yeah, highlight of the career by far.

"Rinky and I definitely didn't think this was happening two weeks ago. Bit of a pleasant surprise.

'Thanks Rinky'

"I've got to thank Rinky, he was the reason we teamed up for this tournament. Two weeks later we've got this trophy!”

Kubler moved to Mango Hill in 1996, when he was four four and played on the court, built by Mango Hill Progress Association in 1990, with his brother and sister.

His mum Lyn was soon running the court bookings only stepping down from that role and as treasurer in August.

The former North Lakes State College student soon rose through the junior ranks and at 16 was only the second player, after Rafael Nadal, to go through the World Youth Cup and Junior Davis Cup unbeaten.

Kubler played his first Australian Open singles match at the age of 18. He has been on the international circuit for more than a decade, but suffered injuries.

However, last year he reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, the French Open main draw for the first time and won the Challenger title at Little Rock.

Tribute planned for grand slam champion
The tennis court at Mango Hill Village where Jason Kubler played as a youngster.

Rankings boost

In the latest ATP world rankings, Kubler is up five places to a career high of 79 in the men's singles, where he is now ranked three in Australia. The men's doubles rankings have seen Kubler soar 130 places to 33 in the world.

That follows last year where his world singles ranking shot up from 206 to 96 in July and doubles ranking from 580 to 152 in September.

At this year's Australian Open, Kubler made the quarter-finals of the mixed doubles with Maddison Inglis and lost in round two of the singles to Karen Khachanov.

Kubler and Hijikata are the sixth all-Australian team to reach the Australian Open men’s doubles final. Their victory also meant Australia won back-to-back titles.

All-Australian men’s doubles finalists: 1989 - Darren Cahill/Mark Kratzmann; 1992, 1997, 1998 – Todd Woodbridge/Mark Woodforde; 2020 – Max Purcell/Luke Saville; 2022 – Nick Kyrgios/Thanasi Kokkinakis; 2023 – Jason Kubler/Rinky Hijikata

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