It's a wild journey that's taken Austin Krajicek and Ivan Dodig to the ATP Finals. They weren't even a team at the start of the season, first pairing up during April's Serbia Open in Belgrade and getting off to a slow start initially.

Now, they're the fifth-ranked team in the world and have qualified for Turin. They're refusing to sound surprised about it, though.

"I would have said, yeah, that's what we're planning," joked Krajicek, speaking to, though admitting they were "definitely a little bit behind" when they started playing together the second quarter of the season.

The pair enjoyed some mid-season success, winning Lyon and reaching finals at Roland Garros and Washington, D.C. They surged when the tour moved indoors after the US Open, finishing runner-up in Florence, picking up titles in Naples and Basel and adding a 1000-level final in Paris.

"Yeah, we are very happy. We achieved something that is not easy to do, in half a year, to come to the Masters Finals," said Dodig. "We have to be happy. We played really good tennis.

"Four finals, two titles. Excited and happy to be here."


Krajicek and Dodig vaulted to No. 6 in the doubles race to secure their Turin spot.

Krajicek and Dodig vaulted to No. 6 in the doubles race to secure their Turin spot.

Despite their form coming into the tournament, Krajicek knows they'll be starting from scratch, as usual.

"We do it all year. Whatever happens, you have a new tournament the next week. “It's a great feeling to qualify for the first time but we're going to try to play and improve,” he said.

It's the 32-year-old American's first ATP Finals. "It's my first time here, so I'm going to be a little more engaged, but you play the best you can play, so I don't think it changes that much," Krajicek said.

Still, he's enjoyed the attention and public events during the run-up to the start of the event, saying, ''Everything is as good as it gets, so it's pretty cool we could be involved in the best tournament of the year."

It's not a first for his 37-year-old teammate, but he's enjoying being part of the 'Elite Eight' again.

“I think it definitely helps. I went through this a lot of times. That's the nice feeling, the nice part of this sport,” said Dodig. “You play all year to come to this spot. It takes a lot of confidence. But when the lights are off, you have to come and play on the court.”


The experienced Croatian, who has been as high as No. 29 in singles, also spoke of the unique demands and highlights of the competition.

"It's definitely challenging... you have to play against the best players [of] all the season. Definitely every match is 100 percent, you have to play your best tennis if you want to win this tournament,” said Dodig. “It's not easy to keep your focus, keep the physical part also in good shape—that's all the challenges you in are facing this tournament.

"But on the other hand, it's the most exciting tournament you're playing in: full stadium, a lot of people coming and supporting. It's definitely, for me, one of my favorite tournaments to come play. But there are a lot of challenges. It's a question of who is dealing better with those challenges."

Among those challenges is the round robin, with players playing three matches and the two with the best record in their group going through to the semifinals. That allows players to bounce back from a defeat, but scores can also decide who advances.

“It's a round robin, every match is important, every set and game is important. It's a little different from what we are used to, but definitely every point counts, every game counts, every set counts,” said Dodig. “ It's just important to play the group, and like every tournament, it's going to decide [on the basis of] just a couple of balls, points. You just have to play point by point, match by match."

Starting off, Krajicek and Dodig will play Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic in their group opener.