Eltingh/Haarhuis for the first time since 1998
Jacco Eltingh finished his career prematurely, but in an impressive style – serving an ace in the final of the year ending doubles Masters (Hartford) in 1998. He was 28 then, his long-time doubles partner Paul Haarhuis finished his career in 2005. The best doubles team in the Dutch history decided to play once again at the professional level to support Richard Krajicek’s Foundation’s first Playground outside The Netherlands. Haarhuis said in December 2010 about their one-off comeback: “During the trip to Suriname we wondered about the level Jacco and I would still be able to reach. Where we are right now? No idea. The players of today are of course more in shape and have been playing a lot more than us over the last years. But the idea of playing them still thrills me after all these years. Thanks to the encouragement of Richard, who encouraged us to join the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, we have decided to face this challenge. And like in the old days, we will prepare ourselves well.” Unfortunately, the Dutch pair had the toughest possible draw in the first round in Rotterdam – they met one of the best doubles teams of the last few years – Mariusz Fyrstenberg & Marcin Matkowski. The Dutchmen after a shaky start (*0:3, 0-30), played a couple decent points, but 44-year-old Haarhuis hasn’t his unique reflex of the old days and 4 years younger Eltingh completely couldn’t find the proper rhythm on backhand returns. He was broken twice, Haarhuis once, and after 62 minutes the Poles won the low quality match 6-3, 6-2.
The Dutchmen won 39 titles together (including all four Grand Slams, as the first duo in the Open era) in the years 1991-1998, they triumphed in Rotterdam twice (1997-98).
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