There was some good news for British tennis when Joe Salisbury, in partnership with American Rajeev Ram, successfully retained their doubles title at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals.
"We want to play our best at these big tournaments. I'm just really proud of the effort we have put in on and off the court Joe Salisbury
The partnership, US Open champions, stormed through the final match on Sunday, defeating Spaniard Marcel Granollers and Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos, Wimbledon finalists, 6-3 6-4.
Both pairs made it through to the title round with unbeaten records for the week, a feat which the British and American partnership have now achieved on three successive occasions whilst their opponents were making their debut there.
But at the end of the week, it was the reigning champions who emerged triumphant and become the first pair to successfully defend their title since 2016-17 (Henri Kontinen (Fin) & John Peers (Aus)) for their 10th successive win in Turin while Granollers and Zeballos missed out on ending the year as the top doubles pairing which victory would have handed them.
“There is something very special about this place,” Salisbury, 31, said on court.
“I feel so lucky to be playing here and to have the success we have had in Turin is incredible.
“We love playing here. When you have played well and had good matches [at a tournament] it brings back good feelings.
“We want to play our best at these big tournaments. I’m just really proud of the effort we have put in on and off the court.”
After facing a break point in their opening service game, Salisbury and Ram struck the first blow of the contest when they took their third opportunity to seize a 3-1 advantage.
That proved enough for the British-American pair – the first pairing to reach three consecutive championship matches at the Finals since the Aussies Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde in 1994 – who remained solid on serve throughout the encounter.
Salisbury and 39-year-old Ram had come through three match tie-breaks to reach this year’s final.
And they completed a deserved victory, without facing a single break point, when Ram, who had struggled with an abdominal strain this week, served out the match after 69 minutes of play.
“We struggled at the beginning of this year but had an amazing last few months, so Joe, thanks for sticking with me,” Ram said following the win.
Salisbury’s attention will now turn to Davis Cup which kicks off on Thursday when he should be partnering Neal Skupski in what could be the deciding doubles against Serbia!