Filipino-Australian Jason Kubler and Rinky Hijikata clinched the men’s doubles title of the Australian Open in Melbourne on Saturday, Jan. 28 -- a feat Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Bambol Tolentino said should make Filipinos proud.
“It’s something that we Filipinos -- and the POC -- should be proud of and cherish,” said Tolentino of the 29-year-old Kubler, son of a Philippine-born mother and an Australian father.
“We know that a part of him is Filipino and Jason showed that to the world,” Tolentino said. “We’re really proud of him for winning a grand slam title not only for Australians but also for his fellow Filipinos.”
The pair, playing for Australia, defeated Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski, 6-4, 7-6 (4), in the final at the Rod Laver Arena.
It was the first Grand Slam title for both Hijikata and Kubler—the third Australian team to win a men’s doubles title in the last five Grand Slams. They teamed up for the first time.
Kubler turned professional in 2008 but couldn’t pounce on a promising career because of a knee injury that forced him to play exclusively on clay.
Tolentino likened Kubler to Filipino-Canadian Leylah Fernandez, who made the final of the US Open final in 2021 as an 18-year-old.