Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonareva don't team up often, but when they do they're a huge threat in the doubles draw. The unseeded duo have won two of the three tournaments they've played together in 2022, the third coming at the Miami Open where they beat top seeds Elise Mertens and Veronika Kudermetova in the final.
The unseeded duo struck gold at the 2020 US Open, winning the title in their first tournament together, but their partnership was put on hold after Wimbledon last year when Siegemund underwent knee surgery. They reunited in February and have picked up right where they left off, winning two of the three tournaments they've played together.
Siegemund and Zvonareva spoke to WTA Insider after the win to pay homage to their confidence and chemistry and open up about why their Miami win could complicate their partnership during the clay season. But don't worry, as the duo explains, it's a good problem to have.
WTA Insider: This was just your 10th event together and you've now won your third title. How are you able to come together and click so well, so quickly?
Siegemund: We had a long break because of my injury so we just have a great base chemistry anyway. If we can work ourselves through some matches we can improve because we talk a lot and we have the same ideas and the same mindset. That makes us play better from match to match. Maybe we're down in the score but we're able to find solutions and that's what makes us very strong as a team.
WTA Insider: Was there a moment where you felt your team clicked and that the title was in your grasp?
Zvonareva: It's tough to say about a specific click because I think we strongly believe in our team. Even if we're not playing great we are able to turn many matches around. We feel like we're a good team. So we don't really think too far ahead of the next match. We're just focusing on the next match and just taking it one day at a time.
I think that's something that's helping our spirit, not thinking about it too much. But we believe we can beat everyone if we can convert our chances and play our game plans.
Siegemund: Yeah, it wasn't one particular moment. First of all, you don't think about winning the title because the more you think about it the less it will happen. So I think step-by-step is a good thing to do.
Today I felt it, I think. The level was very high from them and that made us play much better than in the other matches. I felt like, wow we're playing a great level and we can do great if we can keep it up.
WTA Insider: How does it feel to be back, Laura?
Siegemund: I have to say, it's great. It's been a long time and I don't want to say you forget the feelings, but they move far in your past. The present is filled with so many other things other than these emotions that you feel when you play on the court successfully. It's like a drug a little bit. You want more of that.
I never expected it to be so successful right away. I think you would have the wrong expectations if you were to think you would have these achievements so quickly after being out for so long.
But it's just so good to be able to move around without pain and just focus and play good tennis. I really enjoy it and I'm happy it's like that.
WTA Insider: You've now won a WTA 1000 title and it's only April. This team could probably get direct into quite a few big tournaments. Does that complicate your decision-making at all with respect to your schedules? I know you both want to get your singles ranking back into the Top 100.
Zvonareva: I think we're both at the stage of our careers where we want to take on any opportunities that we get. If we see we're playing well then we can focus on the doubles a little bit, but at the same time we both know we are singles players and we want to play the singles.
It's just week by week, there's no plan like where we're going to play three months from now. There is no plan like this. We just go from the positions we're in, see where we're at - qualifying singles, main draw singles - which tournaments we go to, and then we try and set up our doubles together and see where it takes us. Then we'll make the decisions after.
Siegemund: I feel like it does complicate things. If we would go full-on doubles we could probably win many tournaments together. But for me right now it would not be the tournament selection I need for singles.
So I think it is really difficult. I really admire the people who can play both at a Top 30, Top 20 level. It's super tough to keep up through the season.
It is what it is, and you have to make decisions. I still want to get back in singles. As Vera said, we have to look at each other's schedules. If it fits it fits and we play. If we have different schedules or want to focus on singles during a certain period, on a certain surface, then that's what it is.
I think it's just for either of us not really the moment to say we're going full-on doubles and leave singles completely behind. That moment for either of us has not arrived and that's why we're just kind of teaming up when we feel like it.
WTA Insider: So when might we see you next?
Zvonareva: We kind of talked about this hard court season because it's just the first few weeks for Laura playing after surgery. We weren't sure if her knee could handle these efforts and how she was going to react, so we haven't talked about our next events. We don't know. That's what we'll do in the coming days.
Siegemund: On clay, with the situation I'm in, I want to get my singles ranking up. I have only eight opportunities with the protected ranking. My normal ranking dropped quite a bit. Since I prefer clay for singles, probably this will be a period where I will focus more on singles.
Zvonareva: The priority right now is to get Laura back healthy.
Siegemund: And the big stage! We didn't know it was coming that quick so we have a new situation. Luxury problems right now.
Zvonareva: It's a privilege to have these problems.