If there’s one thing you need to know about San Diego Aviators’ men’s doubles specialist Marcin Matkowski, it’s that this WTT newcomer isn’t your average rookie. Though the July 15 season opener will be the first time Matkowski sets foot on our signature multi-colored courts, he’s a seasoned veteran when it comes to playing team tennis.
The 6’1” Polish native played college tennis at UCLA, where his roommate and partner was another name well-known in the WTT world, Jean-Julien Rojer. Together, the two were named 2002 Pac-10 Doubles Team of the Year. But, while playing in high school and college gave Matkowski his first experiences with team format tennis, they definitely weren’t his last. He’s been a member of Poland’s Davis Cup team for 18 seasons, missing only one year since 2000. If that’s not impressive enough, he has also appeared in four Olympic games (2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016), seven times in the ATP World Tour Finals, and is a nine-time finalist in ATP Masters 1000 events, winning two titles.
As a seasoned doubles specialist, it’s not surprising that he has previously shared a court with Aviators teammate Anna-Lena Groenefeld, also a skilled doubles player. The two partnered at the French Open in 2012. Coincidentally, Groenefeld won Mixed Doubles at Roland-Garros two years later with Matkowski’s former UCLA partner, Rojer. No stranger to Slams himself, Matkowski reached the US Open Men’s Doubles finals in 2011 and was a Mixed Doubles finalist at the US Open in 2012 and the French Open in 2015. Still, he calls his experience playing Davis Cup for Poland the highlight of his career so far.
Despite a hectic tour schedule, the avid reader finds time to tuck into a book or catch up on his favorite TV series, “Game of Thrones” and “House of Cards” (professional tennis players — they’re just like us!). His two daughters, six-year-old Maja and five-months-young Laura, help him to see the bright side of early exits in tournaments. “When I lose early, I get to go home and see them!” he says.
Win or lose, he won’t be jetting home to Warsaw during the WTT season, though there’s still family nearby he’s eager to see. His younger sister, Dominika, who followed in his footsteps to play tennis at UCLA, now lives and works in LA, and Matkowski says seeing her is one of the things he’s looking forward to most while he’s playing here. Well, that and catching up on ESPN. “I love seeing all the news about sports and especially the NFL on ESPN. We don’t really have anything like that in Warsaw,” he says.
How does he feel about playing for the Aviators in his first WTT season? “Very excited.”
That sums it up for us too, Marcin.