Let’s say you’re the world’s 115th-ranked women’s singles player, and you just spent 3 hours 11 minutes beating arguably the greatest tennis player of all time on Centre Court at Wimbledon in a match that ended at 10:36 p.m. local time. You need to be back at the All England Club the next morning to prepare for a doubles match that you probably are not going to win. What do you do?
If you’re Harmony Tan, you follow your first-round singles win over seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams on Monday by withdrawing from the doubles competition, citing a thigh injury. Tan and partner Tamara Korpatsch were replaced in the first-round women’s doubles draw by Valentini Grammatikopoulou and Peangtarn Plipuech, who lost to 15th-seeded Nadiia Kichenok and Raluca Olaru later Wednesday.
Korpatsch, Tan’s spurned partner, did not take Tan’s doubles withdrawal well at first. She took to Instagram — twice — on Wednesday to register her saltiness (as captured by Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times):
In one of the Instagram posts (now deleted), Korpatsch would only refer to her (presumably former) partner as “H. Tan” and said Tan was the one who reached out to her about teaming up at Wimbledon, not the other way around. Korpatsch also questioned Tan’s fortitude, saying a three-hour match the day before is no excuse to pull out.
“Unfortunately my Doubles Partner H. Tan retired from our doubles today,” she wrote alongside a photo of herself on a practice court. “She just texted me this morning. Let me wait here 1 hour before the match start. I’m very sad, disappointed and also very angry that I can’t play my 1st Doubles Grand Slam. And It’s really not fair for me😒 I did’nt deserve that. She asked me before the tournament if we wanna play doubles and I said yes, I did’nt ask her, she asked me! If you’re broken after a 3h Match the day before, you can’t play professional. That’s my opinion.”
On Thursday, however, Korpatsch wrote on Instagram that she and Tan had talked over the “misunderstanding” and apologized to each other:
Korpatsch, who is ranked 110th in the world, lost her first-round singles match to Heather Watson in a match that started Monday night and ended Tuesday morning because it had bumped up against Wimbledon’s 11 p.m. curfew. Then she had to prepare for her Wimbledon doubles debut that didn’t actually happen.
Tan and Korpatsch had never been doubles partners at a top-level tournament, according to the WTA website, and this week’s incident shows how doubles pairings are often hastily thrown together without much thought to chemistry (unless you’re a duo such as the Bryan brothers, who won 16 Grand Slam doubles titles together, or the Williams sisters, who won 14).
Sometimes, if you’re like Coco Gauff, you take to Twitter to find a partner (for mixed doubles, anyway):
Who wants to play mixed at wimby 🌱🤝 ?— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) June 15, 2022
Tan will face Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain in the second round of singles Thursday.