APRIL 21 - MAY 4, 2025

Granollers and Zeballos, on top of the world

Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos are the No. 1 pair in the world in the live ranking after beating the twosome formed by Hugo Nys and Jan Zelinski 16-14 in a roller-coaster super tiebreak. The Spanish-Argentine duo have earned themselves a place in history by reaching the pinnacle of the rankings for the first time in their career. At the ages of 38 and 39, respectively, the two workhorses of tennis have been rewarded for a lifetime of dedication with a place looking down on the rest. They are yet to win a Grand Slam title, despite Marcel having five finals under his belt, but their consistency and good results over the last two months have allowed them to make the No. 1 spot their own.

It will not be official until Monday, but they are now the de facto kings. What better place for Marcel to notch up the milestone achievement than in Madrid, surrounded by the Spanish fans who cheered them on to victory?

Granollers is now the fourth Spaniard to rise to the top in doubles, and the first in almost 25 years. Before Marcel, Joan Gisbert and Manolo Orantes reached the mark in 1975 and Emilio Sánchez Vicario did likewise in 1989. Meanwhile, Zeballos becomes the first Argentine in history to top an ATP Ranking. What happened today at 18:20 local time in the Arantxa Sánchez Vicario court was nothing short of historic.

The closing stretch of the clash between Marcel Granollers – Horacio Zeballos and Hugo Nys – Jan Zelinski had the entire stadium on the edges of their seats. What may have seemed like ‘just’ a quarter-final match at the Mutua Madrid Open, was in reality much more than that. The Spanish-Argentine duo were playing the best pair in the doubles ranking. After their defeat in Round 1, Bopanna-Ebden, the world No. 2 team, needed to reach the semi-finals to get the No. 1 spot back.

The clash had all the necessary ingredients for drama. The pretenders to the No. 1 spot came out hesitantly and lost the first set 6-4. They needed to get into the match as soon as possible and they certainly did that in the second, where they raced to a 5-1 lead after two breaks of serve. They eventually won the set 6-2 to level the score. It was then that things started to hot up. Hugo Nys, who was suffering from a hip problem, was struggling to move around the court. The Monegasque’s limited mobility meant that he was forced to play all-or-die tennis. Spectacular winners and no-nonsense rallies ensued. The whole stadium was in raptures. The lead switched hands like a hot potato. Just when it looked like one team had it sewn up, two minutes later it was their opponents who were in the driving seat. From 4-1 to Granollers and Zeballos to 7-4 for the duo on the other side of the net. The Spanish-speaking pair managed to level the tie again and the two teams went on to exchange match points like they were going out of fashion until Granollers and Zeballos finally sealed the deal at 16-14.

The No. 1 spot will truly be theirs next Monday but, in the meantime, the tournament continues. The 2021 champions will be trying to reach another final in the Spanish capital against Behar and Pavlasek who won their own super tiebreak against Lammons and Withrow (6-3, 4-6 and 10-6).