Britain’s Jo Salisbury partnering Rajeev Ram of the US, retained their US Open doubles title to become the first pair in over a century to successfully lift the trophy three years running!
It hasn’t been the best year together, but we stuck it out and put in a lot of hard work and kept believing Jo Salisbury
The pair, who by their standards, have not had a good season winning just one title coming into the championships, recovered from dropping the first set to defeat Australia’s Matt Ebden and Rohan Bopanna of India, at 43, the oldest doubles finalist of the Open Era, 2-6 6-3 6-4 after just over two hours of intensive play.
“I have been lucky enough to come here every year since I was 14 and I remember the Arthur Ashe Kids Day the first day this stadium opened in I think 1997, with John McEnroe and Pete Sampras,” Ram said during the trophy ceremony. “Just to be out here, I have tonnes of family here and the whole team in the box. It is something I could never have thought of in my wildest dreams and I have got to thank so many people, but especially my partner.
“This is our fifth year together. It hasn’t been the best year together, but we stuck it out and put in a lot of hard work and kept believing. It was pretty emotional after yesterday’s win but today I can’t believe we are here.”
In addition to the three US Open titles, the pair have also won the Australian Open (2020).
“This partnership is really special. It has been five years and we have got pretty close,” Salisbury pointed out. “Especially on the court and we know we are going to give it our all. Fight hard and give it our best until the very end. That is what we did today.”
Competing in the 32-degree heat, Ram and Salisbury improved their return game as the match went on, consistently targeting Bopanna and Ebden’s ankles, increasing the pressure on their opponents by storming the net regularly.
The defending champions saved all four break points they faced in the second and third sets, converting two of their own opportunities to seal victory.
One incident though, will always be remembered, namely the act of sportsmanship which Bopanna proffered at 2-4 in the third on his partners’ serve, pointing out to the umpire that a forehand from Eben had grazed his forearm on its way for a winner.
The umpire had not noticed and called the point in their favour only for Bopanna to walk up to the net and ask her to reverse that call, explaining he had touched the ball.
“When Matt hit that forehand cross-court, the ball hit my elbow. I don’t think anybody really saw it, So I claimed it on myself,” Bopanna explained later. “That’s the person I have been through my career, and I really feel if something — it doesn’t matter what the scoreline or what the occasion of the match is — if something was not right, it was not right.
“Straightaway I went and told the referee that the ball had touched (me). I think she was confused too at what is happening.”
Ebden added: “The only one in the stadium who saw it hit you was me. Because I was right behind you, so I saw it deviate off you slightly.”
During the trophy ceremony Ram made a point of highlighting out Bopanna’s act of sportsmanship.
“Rohan and I are real close and that act of sportsmanship today, what he did out on the court. We have been playing for the better part of 20, 25 years on Tour together and I have never seen anything like that,” Ram said. “Especially in a moment like that because we would have had no idea. It just shows what kind of guy he is and how deserving he is to at this point in his career playing for these kinds of titles. You are an inspiration to all of us.”
For the record, the top seeds Wesley Koolhoff of the Netherlands and Britain’s Ken Skupski fell in the third round as did Julian Cash and Henry Patten while Jamie Murray and Michael Venus (NZ) as well as Lloyd Glasspool and his Finnish partner Harri Helivaara crashed out a round earlier.