Local doubles Tennis pairing Neal and Ken Skupski crashed out of the Australian Open this weekend after a disappointing 2 sets to 1 defeat (6-3, 7-5, 6-4).
The brothers – had hoped to make a solid start to 2021 as a pairing after rekindling following Neal’s split from Jamie Murray.
But the unseeded duo of John Millman and Thiago Monteiro progressed to the third round of the tournament in blazing Melbourne temperatures.
However, Liverpudlian based coach Sean Dunstan admits the pair will hope to emulate some of the form which saw them win the French Open back in 2018.
‘I think they’re gonna have a good season, I’ve known the guys for a while now but obviously as with everything COVID hasn’t helped with what we can do.
‘The partnership will be slightly different this year, with Neal having gained a lot more experience and playing some big matches’ admits Dunstan
He added: ‘I just hope they get enough time to practice really and getting everything prepared ready for these tournaments.’
Ken, the older of the two brothers at 37, had briefly stepped away from Tennis but has since returned to the sport this calendar year.
Dunstan, who helps run the popular SotoTennis Academy spoke of ambitions to hit the ground running for the duo in order to give themselves the best chance possible.
‘I think if they can get that form going again from the clay, and leave the French in a pretty good position it could stand them well for a good run into Wimbledon in the Summer.
The full-time coached added: ‘As brothers, I think it’s really important that the communication is there, and I see it as now Neal has the lead in the partnership he’s making it a lot easier for them.
‘Neal’s improved so much over the last 18 months and Ken’s always been able to compete at the level too, hopefully, it’s really exciting to watch them this year.’
With the next Grand Slam not until late May on the clay in France, it’s hoped the Merseysiders can return home and kick on following this poor start to the calendar year.
Neal, will however have to remain in Australia a little longer, as he is also still involved in the mixed doubles with partner – Andreja Klepac.
Their next tie is scheduled for the early hours of tomorrow against Lucie Hradecká and Filip Polášek.