US Open: Joe Salisbury & Rajeev Ram become first pair this century to retain men’s doubles title


Neal Skupski (top) and Joe Salisbury (bottom) wore a black ribbon and armband respectively in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II
Neal Skupski (top) and Joe Salisbury (bottom) wore a black ribbon and armband respectively in tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II

Britain’s Joe Salisbury and America’s Rajeev Ram edged a close final to become the first pair this century to retain the US Open men’s doubles title.

They won 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 against Salisbury’s compatriot Neal Skupski and Dutchman Wesley Koolhof.

Australian duo Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge were the last pair to win successive New York titles in 1995-96.

Salisbury donned a black armband and Skupski wore a black ribbon during the final in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.

“We wanted to show a sign of respect and acknowledgement of the situation we are in [as a country], it’s a huge moment in our history,” said 30-year-old Salisbury.

“I think it didn’t feel appropriate to be overly celebrating, or at least showing that too much, because obviously everybody back home and around the world is in mourning at the moment. It’s a very sad time.”

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For the second consecutive year, the final featured Britons on opposite sides of the net after Salisbury and Ram beat Jamie Murray and Brazil’s Bruno Soares to win the 2021 title.

The opening set was dominated by serve, featuring just one break point, and went to a tie-break which Skupski and Koolhof led 4-1, only for Salisbury and Ram to win six straight points to take it.

Skupski and Koolhof, in their first Grand Slam final together on their first time at Flushing Meadows as a pair, broke serve early in the second set but their opponents immediately broke back.

After the next seven games went with serve, Salisbury and Ram capitalised on their first match point to clinch their third Grand Slam title as a team.

Victory ensured Salisbury remains the number one men’s doubles player in the world, a ranking Skupski would have claimed had he and Koolhof won.

“I can’t quite believe we’re standing here again – to have won this twice in a row is amazing,” said Salisbury.

“We had a tough ask to defend all the points that we won last year. But to have done it again is amazing.”

Salisbury had to take time off tour after Wimbledon because of a back injury and was pleased that the work he had done to aid his recovery had produced success.

“I made a few technical, little technical changes to the serve, had a lot of gym work, rehab and strength training to help with it,” he added.

“It feels amazing that it’s all come together this quickly and we have had such success so soon after that.”


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