Three times lightning struck twice at the Sunshine double

Sunshine Double
Novak Djokovic celebrates at the Miami Open.

Winning the Indian Wells and the Miami Open titles, the Sunshine Double, in the same year remains one of the rarest achievements in tennis.

The first player to secure the so-called Sunshine Double was Jim Courier back in 1991 before Michael Chang emulated his countryman in 1992.

On three occasions, the Sunshine Double has been won by both a woman and a man in the same season.

The first time that the Sunshine Double was duplicated across the men’s and women’s singles events was all the way back in 1994.

As part of dominant seasons as a whole, Steffi Graf and Pete Sampras blocked out the Sunshine Double.

As players at the peak of their powers, this achievement gets lost in the shuffle when talking about all they achieved in the game.

Graf won the events as part of an incredible winning streak that saw her string together the Australian Open, Tokyo, Indian Wells, Delray Beach and Miami Open titles.

In the 1994 women’s singles final at the Miami Open, Graf lost her first set of the year against Natasha Zvereva but still went on to claim that title.

The latter portion of her season didn’t go as well, although she did go on to win the German Open and reached the final at the US Open before a loss to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario.

Sampras had also won the Australian Open before securing the Sunshine Double, he would go on to defend his Wimbledon title albeit after a final criticised for its lack of rallies.

We would have to wait until 2005 to see the Sunshine Double doubled up on.

In the intervening years, Marcelo Rios (1998) and Andre Agassi (2001) won the Sunshine Double on the men’s side of the draw.

However, the next time a woman completed the Sunshine Double would also be the same year that we saw it duplicated across the draws.

In 2005 Kim Clijsters won the Sunshine Double while Roger Federer also completed the feat for the first time. He would go on to repeat it in 2006 and 2017.

Clijsters won the Sunshine Double ahead of her Grand Slam breakthrough at the 2005 US Open later in the season.

In 2016, Novak Djokovic made history as the first four-time winner of the Sunshine Double, while Victoria Azarenka also did the double on the east and west coasts of the United States.

Djokovic has always had great appreciation for the Miami Open and returns this year for the first time in a long while perhaps with a new appreciation of what it means to bid for the Sunshine Double.

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