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Ken Skupski admitted it was difficult to refocus following partner Jonny O’Mara's fall during their defeat to Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic at the LTA’s cinch Championships at The Queen’s Club, writes Jack Lacey-Hatton.
The British pair - who benefit from the LTA’s NTC Access programme, which is for players ranked 100-200 in singles and 31-100 in doubles, providing cost-free access to courts on all three surfaces, coaching, trainers and the LTA’s tournament bonus scheme – came into the Championship off the back of winning the Nottingham Open, but were eliminated in the opening round.
Keighley's O’Mara slipped during the first set of their 6-4 6-2 defeat to the reigning Wimbledon champions Mektic and Pavic.
Although he was able to complete the match, the 27-year-old required medical treatment and strapping on his knee.
Liverpudlian Skupski said after the injury focus shifted to O’Mara coming through the match without doing further damage, rather than the result.
“We were playing well then just had an unfortunate situation with Jonny’s fall,” explained Skupski. “Once that happened you forget you are playing a really top team.
“At that point you’re not really thinking about winning the match. We just wanted to protect Jonny as best we could.
“The scenario is very much out of our comfort zone.
“It was a bit of a shame because I thought we played quite well in certain moments, but overall they made us play more balls and it was difficult to react.”
O’Mara was in discomfort for the rest of the match following his fall and echoed his partner’s words.
“I’m disappointed because we’ve been practising really well recently,” said O’Mara.
“I just slipped on the grass and felt something go in my knee. After that I couldn’t really get into the match, so it is disappointing.”
It was particularly frustrating as up until that point they had been more than a match for their Croatian opponents, ranked No.6 in the world.
They team appeared to be building on from some excellent performances in Nottingham last week only for fate to intervene.
“It is a step up to play against a team who are more clinical around the net,” added Skupski. “But we have played these guys a lot before and beaten them.
“So I had confidence we could do well here. We missed opportunities today at times, but when you pick up an injury like that, I don’t want to use it as an excuse but it makes it very difficult.”
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