Over the past year, Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins have established themselves as Britain’s top-ranked doubles pair. Going into Miami, they stand at No 11 in race for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Should they make the top eight come November, they would be the first British pair to do since the event began. In an interview with The Tennis Space, they explain why they now feel at home among the world’s best and why London is a huge goal.
Colin: It’s nice to come to new tournaments and bigger tournaments. I guess it’s a little bit of a reward for all the hard work and the results that we’ve had but we really want to be here year after year after year. We don’t just want to come here and give it our best and then ‘at least we played it once’.
We want to establish ourselves and we’ve spoken a lot about wanting to make the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and if you’re going to make that, you’re going to have to get results in the Masters Series. We’re working hard and also, when we’re away from tennis, we’re enjoying it. We’re mixing it with the best in the world. It’s a nice place to be.
We feel like we’re backing up the wins with consistent results. We’re starting to play at a more consistently high level. Sometimes we’ve not played at our best and managed to squeeze out wins when before we would have lost matches which, I think, shows that we do have more belief or that we’re belonging at a higher place in the game.
But we still have to work very hard to maintain that level and to try and improve. Playing at the top tournaments with these people gives you confidence in itself, seeing the way these people play. We’re working hard to make it a constant for us to be at these the whole time.
Ross: I don’t think our rate of progress is surprising us because over the last six months I think we were ranked eight or nine, once I got over my wrist injury. I believe we’re good enough to be in the top eight. I think we bring energy and youth to doubles. We’re still learning a lot about the game but I think we’re on schedule.
As long as we stay in the top eight throughout the year, it would be very pleasing. If we drop out, we want to get back into it as soon as possible. But it doesn’t surprise us. When you first come on the scene, you want 45 points to win one round of a 250 and now you’re thinking, we’re actually top seeds or if we put in a good week (at a Masters 1000) the draw might open up quite nicely. When you have a first-round loss or a loss to a team that is unexpected, you have to get on with it.
I think it’s bad if you have to keep stuff from each other, so we’ll talk about how we can improve and what went wrong. I think that’s helped us throughout this year. I don’t think we’d say anything negative because to me that’s just the worst thing you can do. We don’t do that.
Colin: I think one of the best things we’ve done since we’ve been moving up is actually not really focus much on the rankings, the points and prize money or anything like that. To be honest, when I first came on the scene I would have counted points and looked at when I was defending but honestly I couldn’t really tell you when the exact dates are. We focus very much just on performance really.
If we have a bad match then we talk pretty openly about how we can try not to let that happen again and improve. When you win a match it always feels better than it was and when you lose a match it always feels worse than it was. It’s such a fine line.