Routliffe on the hunt for new partner

Monday, 10 July 2023

Erin Routliffe and Alexa Guarachi have decided to split as a doubles team, with the New Zealand No 1 on the lookout for a new partner.

Routliffe and Guarachi suffered a tough 7-6 6-7 6-2 loss to Irina-Camelia Begu from Romania and Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina in the first round of doubles at Wimbledon on Friday.

Routliffe has confirmed that she and Guarachi had already decided to go their separate ways after the grass court grand slam, as both agreed the partnership wasn’t working out.

“We’re not playing together anymore. Wimbledon was our last tournament,” Routliffe said.

“We had chatted, I don’t remember when, but we were both in the same space. It’s hard to put a finger on why something isn’t working.

“Obviously, it’s a lot easier with her, because she’s one of my best friends off the court and at the end of the day that’s the most important thing. 

“To have that conversation was really easy, we’re both completely on the same page and hopefully we can be more successful with other people.”

“At least for now, our partnership didn’t click as well as we wanted it to. We had some good wins a couple of months ago.”

Routliffe and Guarachi reached the semifinals at the WTA 500 tournament in Stuttgart in April, but they have lost their last eight matches together and their defeat at Wimbledon was particularly tough to swallow, as they were a set up and leading 5-2 in the second set tiebreak, with Routliffe having the next two serves.

“We had a lot of opportunities and we had a lot of opportunities in the last few matches we’ve played together,” Routliffe said.

“We didn’t take the opportunities and they did, so that’s what happened at the end of the day.”

Routliffe hasn’t got anyone sorted out as a new partner, but expects there will be some movement after Wimbledon, when teams decide to split.

“I’ve got to ask around,” she said. 

“I haven’t been asking at all, because we’ve been playing and focussing on that and I’m sure a lot of other people are seeing how Wimbledon goes and then there will be some more partnerships after this.

“So it will depend on who I’m playing with, if they play singles or if they don’t.”

Routliffe is heading from Wimbledon to her best friend’s wedding near Toronto this week and she’ll next be on court as part of the New Zealand team for the Billie Jean King Cup event in Malaysia from July 24-29.

Routliffe will be a key player in a New Zealand team that also includes Monique Barry, Vivian Yang, Jade Otway and Valentina Ivanov and will be captained by Matt Hair.

Although Routliffe is a doubles specialist, she is also New Zealand’s highest ranked singles player and she says she’s willing to play both forms of the game for her country.

I’m down to play singles and doubles, my body is feeling good,” she said. 

“After a break I’ll be ready to get back on court and enjoy it. It’s always fun competing for New Zealand hopefully we can get out of that group and into the next one.”

Barry and Otway will be playing in the Billie Jean King Cup for the first time, while this will be just the second event for Yang.

As the most experienced player in the team, Routliffe will be the natural leader and she says she’ll offer all the support she can.

“I’m the oldest by a lot, so I probably will be a bit of a leader,” she said. 

“Hopefully I can use the experience I’ve had on Tour and playing multiple Billie Jean King Cups, to help the other girls.

"I know most of them quite well, some of them I don’t know as well. But I’ll definitely get to know them and I’m really looking forward to trying to use my experience to help.

“I’m here for whatever. If they want to ask questions, advice, all that kind of stuff. 

“I’m sure I can also learn a lot from them, because obviously age is just a number!"

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