A dream became reality on Monday for Neal Skupski.
The 32-year-old from Liverpool, England, climbed to joint-No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings alongside partner Wesley Koolhof. Skupski is the third Briton to become World No. 1 in doubles.
“It’s a dream come true to top the world rankings. It means everything and I couldn’t have done it without the support of so many people along the way, especially my family,” Skupski told ATPTour.com. “It’s special to join such an illustrious group of players who have topped the rankings before me.
“Hopefully Wes and I can continue our good form and increase our stay at the top.”
Koolhof and Skupski have already clinched year-end No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Team Rankings and are the top seeds at this week’s Nitto ATP Finals. It has been a breakthrough season for Skupski, who is competing at the season finale for the first time.
Skupski, a former college tennis standout at Louisiana State University, began the season at World No. 20 with a career-high standing of World No. 14. But his partnership with Koolhof has proven a perfect fit on and off the court.
The pair captured back-to-back titles to start the season in Australia and has not looked back. They have lifted seven tour-level trophies in 2022, including ATP Masters 1000 triumphs in Madrid, Montreal and Paris. Koolhof and Skupski also advanced to the US Open final.
The season has made proud Skupski’s older brother, Ken Skupski, with whom Neal won three ATP Tour titles from 2018-21.
“Over the years as a big brother I’ve always had faith in his ability. As he transitioned into the pros I wanted to give him the best chance to be the player I knew he could be. As a partner I felt I could steer him in the right direction and help him develop into a top player,” Ken said. “In the past three years he’s blown me away with his unwavering desire to become the best and this achievement is the cherry on the cake not just for him but for the whole family and everyone who has supported us along the way.”
It has been an especially enjoyable week for the brothers in Turin. Neal is competing in the year-end championships for the first time and Ken is by his side as a coach.
“I’m extremely proud,” Ken said. “Now supporting him in a coaching capacity, I hope we can continue to improve and check off more goals together.”