Qualifiers win men's doubles

Updated: July 2, 2005, 4:23 PM ET
Reuters

LONDON -- Stephen Huss and Wesley Moodie became the first qualifiers to win the Wimbledon men's doubles title on Saturday by beating American twins Bob and Mike Bryan 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-3.

While South African Moodie, 26, reached the third round in the singles at the All England Club in 2003, Huss was, until now, virtually unknown even in his native Australia.

"I know it's real with all the feelings that I'm having," Huss said. "I know it's not a dream."

Reaching the heights of 807 in the world back in 2001, Huss has never played a grand slam singles match, concentrating instead on doubles.

The 29-year-old said he had considered quitting the sport before the start of the tournament.

"I'll be 30 in December ... I wasn't able to compete in grand slams; to play at challenger level doesn't really inspire me." he said.

"I was definitely looking at other options and what else I could do."

Huss and Moodie had never stepped on court together in a tour level event before this tournament and were delighted just to get into the main draw.

"We qualified, it was a bit of a relief to at least make it through," said Moodie, who added that his half of the 218,500 pounds ($389,200) prize check would be going on a new house.

After coming through the two qualifying rounds the pairing claimed some notable scalps on the way to the final.

Nine-time Wimbledon doubles champion Todd Woodbridge announced his retirement following his defeat to the debutants with Mahesh Bhupathi in the second round and in the semifinal they beat the defending champion Jonas Bjorkman with his new partner Max Mirnyi.

Now one half of a grand slam champion doubles team, journeyman Huss is still struggling to come to terms with the achievement.

"I'm definitely surprised to be Wimbledon champion," he said. "I've been here and I've been trying and I've been playing and hoping for something like this to happen."