Bound with One Goal. How Makarova and Vesnina Won

On August 14, Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina achieved the goal that made them team up. The Goal is achieved – what is next?

In Rio de Janeiro, sunny and rainy weather interchange in a day. Following this logic, in the final day of the competition it was supposed to be rainy. But it wasn’t. There was not a cloud in the sky. Nothing could suspend the final performance of Russia’s Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova on Rio de Janeiro Olympic courts.

Alas, the number of fans was tragically low for the final. Not many people are ready to come to the stadium at noon after a roaring Saturday. Moreover, the ticket to the Centre Court gave an opportunity to visit all the matches of the day played on this court, and the match between del Potro and Murray was undoubtedly more attractive for the local public that the women’s final in doubles. Even when played by such pretty women.

At 10 minutes to noon, official mascot Vinicius was dancing and asking the audience to repeat after it. There was no one to dance. Only volunteers who tried to give some sense to everything that was happening responded to Vinicius’s call. It hardly worked. The mascot was dancing rather for itself than for the audience.

At noon sharp, first Makarova and Vesnina appeared on court, followed by Swiss team Hingis and Bacsinszky. The audience barely reacted on the appearance of the first team – neither applauses nor roaring. Reaction on the second team was a bit louder, although also emotionless. Although, there is no use to compare since the stadium designed for 10,000 spectators was only 10%-full. The most amazing thing was that, according to the official website of the tournament, all the tickets had been sold beforehand.

Our ladies started pretty well. They nearly won the first game on Bacsinszky’s serve. The ladies held their serves till 3:3 when in the seventh game, our ladies broke their opponents’ serve. It became the deciding one in the first set which Makarova and Vesnina completed at 6:4.

More fans and journalists had come by the second set. One of them didn’t behave well imitating Vesnina – who was the only participant of the final match screaming when she hit the ball. Her branded “haya” allowed to find out who of our ladies hit the ball without even looking at court. Some rallies were so tense that my peers put their laptops aside, took chips and enjoyed the game.

In the battle between Russian and Swiss flags held in the sectors the winner was Argentinian one. Del Potro’s fans came to the stadium in advance to take their seats. This was quite understandable, by the way. What was more surprising were the banners with the emblems of Brazilian football clubs: “Santos”, “Sao Paulo”, “Flamengo” and “Goias”. Even visiting tennis matches, the local population try to underline their devotion to their favorite sport.

Meanwhile, the ladies kept holding their serves. Till 4:4 this time. After that, in the best moment possible, Makarova and Vesnina broke the opponents’ serve and then served for the match. 15:0, 30:0, 40:0 – and that was it! Gold!

After Makarova’s injury, it was doubtful whether she would go to the Olympics at all. Vesnina played with Kasatkina but Makarova managed to recover and become the Olympic champion. It was not that Kasatkina played worse, it was just that Lena and Kate had been through a lot. And they were made for each other in some sense.

The more touching were their press conferences. Vesnina and Makarova were telling the story of how they decided to team up. They discussed everything via SMS-messages. After so many years of hard work, they not only won two Grand Slam titles but also the Olympics. They found the latter to be the greatest achievement for them. Grigoriy Telingater