Jean-Julien Rojer, a 33-year-old Miami Killian High alumnus who spends winters on Brickell Key, advanced to the Wimbledon doubles final after winning a marathon semifinal 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 13-11 on Thursday with partner Horia Tecau over Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea.
The match lasted 3 hours 23 minutes. The two teams held serve 23 straight games in the final set before Rojer-Tecau finally broke their opponents. Saturday will be the first time in Rojer’s 14-year career that he plays in a Grand Slam final. He had reached the semis at the Australian Open (2011, 2015), the French Open (2012, 2015) and U.S. Open (2012).
He and Tecau, seeded No. 4, will face the 13th-seeded team of Jamie Murray (Andy’s older brother) of Great Britain and John Peers of Australia. The matchup has a personal twist because Rojer is close friends with Andy Murray. They both have condos on Brickell, train together in Miami in the winter, and share a box at Miami Heat games. Rojer was at Murray’s wedding.
Rojer, a native of Curacao, moved to South Florida at age 14 to train. He won back-to-back state titles at Killian his sophomore and junior seasons and then enrolled in the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton. Rojer went on to play at UCLA, where he was an All-American.
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Former Killian coach Mike Kypriss, now at Krop Senior High, remains in close contact with Rojer. Thursday, Kypriss and wife Sherri were in St. Augustine picking out a retirement home while monitoring Rojer’s match on their cellphones. When the match ended, they erupted in cheers.
Rojer is more than just an ex-player to Kypriss.
“He is the son we never had,” said Kypriss, who was Rojer’s legal guardian during his teen years. “It is just so exciting to see him having this kind of success. And in doubles, he can keep going many more years.”
Rojer reached No. 218 in singles, but couldn’t get higher, so he decided to concentrate on doubles. It was a wise move. He has earned more than $2 million, is having a fantastic season, and is on the verge of being a Wimbledon champion.