Britain’s Joe Salisbury teamed up with American Desirae Krawczyk to win the French Open mixed doubles title on Thursday at Roland Garros, marking his second Grand Slam triumph.
It really has come as a surprise, especially because of how the match went today. They killed us in the first set and, I think, that it was a combination of us getting better and then they dropped their level a bit. All week we have just gone into it relaxed, enjoying ourselves and seeing what happens. We have come out with a Grand Slam title. We weren’t really expecting this. It is a bit of a shock. Joe Salisbury
Salisbury was slightly embarrassed to be in the final after he and Krawczyk were given a walkover in the last four but they showed they fully deserved their place by beating Russian duo Elena Vesnina & Aslan Karastev, 2-6 6-4 [10-5].
It is a second Grand Slam title for Salisbury, who lifted the Australian Open men’s doubles trophy last year with another American, Rajeev Ram, and follows in the footsteps of John Lloyd, the winner of the mixed doubles in 1982 with Australian Wendy Turnbull.
Vesnina & Karatsev were the better team in the first set but Salisbury & Krawczyk kept pace with their opponents through the second, and then took advantage when Karatsev suddenly went off the boil.
Salisbury thought he had served an ace to clinch it, and he and Krawczyk sat down in their chairs only to be called back on court by umpire Carlos Ramos, who had decided the British player’s serve was out.
Salisbury argued vehemently with the Portuguese official, and promptly served a double-fault when play got back under way, but he held his nerve to clinch a third set point.
They maintained their momentum through the match tiebreak, taking their first match point when Karatsev sent a return wide.
Salisbury & Krawcyzk looked stunned and, addressing his partner, the Londoner said: “This has been an incredible week for us and I don’t think we expected this but it’s been so much fun playing with you and thanks for carrying me.”
Salisbury, 29, became Britain’s first French Open champion in one of the major draws for 39 years.
“It really has come as a surprise, especially because of how the match went today,” Salisbury said. “They killed us in the first set and, I think, that it was a combination of us getting better and then they dropped their level a bit.
“All week we have just gone into it relaxed, enjoying ourselves and seeing what happens.
“We have come out with a Grand Slam title. We weren’t really expecting this. It is a bit of a shock.”
Salisbury now heads back home to the UK about £52,500 richer as he prepares for the transition to grass courts.
The obvious next target is a first piece of Wimbledon silverware, although he will not be teaming up with Krawczyk at the All England Club as he has already offered his commitment to his compatriot Harriet Dart.
“I want to win as many [major events] as I can,” Salisbury said. “Going into Wimbledon, I’m playing the men’s and mixed, and I’m going to be trying to win both.
“It feels like a long time since we have played at Wimbledon.
“We played twice here [at Roland Garros] since we last played at Wimbledon [in 2019].
“My preferred surface is the grass, and obviously having a [home] crowd, I love playing there. It would be great if we can do well there.”