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July 7, 2022

Neal Skupski

Desirae Krawczyk

Wimbledon, London, UK

Press Conference


6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Wimbledon champions again. How does it feel?

DESIRAE KRAWCZYK: Speechless. But, yeah, no, it's great to be back here again in this room actually and to be on Centre Court winning our second Wimbledon in a row.

Yeah, it's cool.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Could you start with how this title compares to last year.

NEAL SKUPSKI: I'm not sure. I mean, it's tough to put it into words.

I mean, last year was for me my first Grand Slam. Des won the French a couple weeks before. It was quite special for me.

Amazing to have more people in the box today, especially for my parents to watch me live. They weren't able to come last year. It's definitely extra special this year for me.

Obviously play on Centre Court is always special. Being it the 100 years on Centre Court, it being the first final on Thursday, I think it is, it's quite special this one compared to last year.

Q. Last night you talked about having to wait a bit after the women's semifinals. That proved to be the case. How did you find that mentally?

DESIRAE KRAWCZYK: I think, yeah, obviously you're waiting. You think you're going to go on pretty soon, but you kind of had to wait it out a little bit.

Obviously that was a long match that they had played. For me at least, I had to regroup a little bit more, kind of get my game mode on again.

But, yeah, I think we went out there and we kind of just started to just play and see how things played out. Yeah, we got it done.

Q. What was it like in the final game? The crowd were getting louder every point you won.

DESIRAE KRAWCZYK: I mean, for me, I was telling Neal, on the court I wasn't really nervous. For me that's kind of a bad sign a little bit.

But I think when it got to 5-2, I was kind of feeling it. I was like, Oh, my gosh, we're kind of getting to the end. Until that match point, it's not over till it's over. You have to keep pushing, playing it out.

Yeah, I think the crowd was great today. It was such a great atmosphere. Yeah, it was a great day.

Q. Neal, you had that really long service game in the first set. Can you talk through that one.

NEAL SKUPSKI: Yeah, I mean, I was a little bit nervous starting off. But I got through that first service game pretty well, serving well, hit a few aces.

Then I think it was the 2-All game in the first set. Yeah, I mean, we didn't play a bad game I don't think. It was just long.

DESIRAE KRAWCZYK: I missed five volleys in a row.

NEAL SKUPSKI: I didn't want to say that (laughter).

DESIRAE KRAWCZYK: I will be honest and say blatantly, yeah, we had the chances, for sure.

NEAL SKUPSKI: Yeah, we had chances. I was serving well to Stosur. I was giving Ebden a lot of second serves, which was making it more difficult. He could get bigger strikes on the ball to make it more difficult when I was at the back, obviously Des was at the net.

Stuck to the process one point at a time. The crowd were getting behind us. I think after like eight deuces, I don't know how many it was.

DESIRAE KRAWCZYK: My shoulder was about to fall off.

NEAL SKUPSKI: It felt like a 20-minute game.

Yeah, I think that was a very key point in the match to get through that game because if we go down a break there, it can be difficult to win that set.

But we kept the momentum and we stayed in it, then broke at the end, which is a nice feeling.

Q. Desirae, tell us a little bit of your background in the desert, how you first got into the game, the places you played, teachers.


I grew up in the desert in Rancho Mirage. I had numerous coaches. But my dad got me into the game. Started at one club in Cathedral Canyon. Kind of grew up there. My dad is from Poland. He grew up in Poland playing, then kind of came to the U.S. and lived in California for a little bit.

But I kind of just started in the desert. I mean, there's so many clubs there, so there's been a couple coaches. Glen Ericsson (phonetic) was one key coach I had. Gordon (indiscernible) was really key as well.

Gosh, and then I played every single weekend in the L.A. area, so I think it was tough for us. In the desert there's so few of us that were good tennis players. For me to be able to grow into my tennis game, I had to drive to L.A. every single weekend to play these tournaments. That kind of helped me get into the higher-ranked tournaments, playing the national events.

So that's kind of how it started.

Q. Did you play at Carson? Do you have any contacts, Polish connection, with Iga or Hubie?

DESIRAE KRAWCZYK: No. But I do remember, I've been to Poland once, I was 12. I went there for three months. Kind of learned how to play on the clay for the first time, kind of see my dad's country.

But I believe like a few years later, I think Iga was young and up-and-coming. They're like, There's this really good girl, she's going to be good.

I was like, Okay.

I don't know her because I wasn't playing these ITF events and not really following it. Here she is, No. 1 in the world, just killing it. She's doing great.

Q. Only two British men now since Fred Perry in 1936 that have retained a Wimbledon title, excluding the wheelchairs. You and John Lloyd.

NEAL SKUPSKI: That's pretty special. I didn't know that myself. But, like, I mean, Wimbledon for me is the best tournament in the world. To be able to win it once with Des, then back it up, win it again, it's quite crazy.

But yeah, I mean, it's a lifelong dream for me. Yeah, I mean, it doesn't really feel real.


NEAL SKUPSKI: Not yet. It will probably sink in in a few days or a week.

When we came into this tournament not really knowing what to expect. We had a great run last year. Des does great in the mixed in most Grand Slams. We came into it not knowing what we were going to achieve. We took it, like, one match at a time. We had a tough first match against Asia Muhammad and Kokkinakis. That could have easily gone a different way.

We had a tough one last night against Mirza and Pavic. I still don't know how we got through that match. They were playing great tennis.

Then today we were a little bit lucky with Ebden having a very, very long match against obviously Salisbury and Rajeev Ram. He came out on top. He may have been a little bit tired from that, but we're obviously going to take advantage.

We're just very happy and very thrilled to be champions once again.

Q. If I told you the morning you have to give up your Liverpool ticket for Champions League final. Don't worry, in six weeks' time you'll be a Wimbledon champion. Does that soften the blow?

NEAL SKUPSKI: I would have taken that all day long. Yeah, I mean, I was in a tough situation with the Champions League final, having to play two matches the next day.

Obviously it didn't work out for Liverpool. It looked like there was a lot of stuff that went off outside the ground, which was unfortunate to hear, not nice to hear that people were injured, affected by it.

But it's like you said, I will take a Wimbledon title any day of the week.

Q. Any friends or family caught up in that situation?

NEAL SKUPSKI: I mean, there were a few people that I knew, yeah. There was actually Bruno Suarez and his coach. They were at the game but they're in the Real Madrid end. I think Hugo went in through the Liverpool end. For some reason there was confusion. He got tear gassed. His eyes were stinging the next day in the morning.

Then I knew a couple of reporters from Liverpool that were there. They had to get into the back of police vans to get escorted away from the ground because there were gangs waiting for them. There was a tunnel. If they had gone down there, they would have got pick pocketed or, I don't know. Don't know what could have happened to them. Luckily the police were there to take them away from danger.

Q. Winston Churchill, a lot of different people have long talked about the relationship between the United States and Great Britain. Is it fun to have a British/American combo? Any fun story you can share? Do you sometimes not understand each other's language?

NEAL SKUPSKI: No. It would be a problem, but I went to U.S. college, so I was there for four and a half years. So I kind of picked up some of the American lingo.

But, yeah, we don't seem to have any problems. We get along very well. It seems to be going well. I mean, Des, I don't know, you do say a few things on court that I maybe don't understand. She gets mixed up a little bit.


NEAL SKUPSKI: Like you go the wrong way sometimes.

DESIRAE KRAWCZYK: A couple times, yeah. As long as it's not the important points.

I remember we first played, and you warned me, you were like, If you can't understand me, let me know because some people, it's so hard for them to understand. You talk so fast.

NEAL SKUPSKI: I talk very quickly. Especially when I'm nervous. Doesn't sound like English. It's gibberish. It's broken Scouse. Where I'm from in Liverpool, they call us Scouses.

When I do get nervous, I speak very, very quickly, quicker than this. Desirae just doesn't understand me.

Q. Where did you go?

NEAL SKUPSKI: I went to Louisiana State University. Go Tigers.

Q. You said on court you only teamed up again in the last couple of weeks. Was there a chance you weren't going to play together?

NEAL SKUPSKI: Yeah, no. Big chance. I was set with Gabby Dabrowski. Desirae was set with Joe Salisbury. A couple weeks before the tournament, I think Joe decided he didn't want to play mixed.

DESIRAE KRAWCZYK: Just to help him. Obviously you're playing three-out-of-five.

NEAL SKUPSKI: Des texted me asking if I was set.


NEAL SKUPSKI: I was set. Obviously a great decision by me to change.


NEAL SKUPSKI: To try to defend the title with someone you won it with the year before is something I wanted to do personally. It was very special to do that at Wimbledon.

I mean, it is very difficult. Like the doubles tour, the men's tour, ladies' tour, it happens. People get dropped week in, week out. People do get used to it. It's not nice.

But luckily...

DESIRAE KRAWCZYK: ...it paid off.

NEAL SKUPSKI: But Gabby was able to find someone that she played with at the French in John Peers, which seemed to work out pretty well. I think they made the quarters. It worked out very well for us.

DESIRAE KRAWCZYK: Don't feel guilty. C'mon.

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