Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury completed their US Open trifecta in September, capturing the title at Flushing Meadows for a third consecutive year. Now the American-British duo sets their sights on another coveted title defense: the Nitto ATP Finals.
Ram and Salisbury have found their form with a late-season surge, claiming the title in two of their past three events. Perhaps no better memory than in New York, where they captured their fourth major team trophy.
“We’ve had great success there and we’ve done well. I don’t think you can ever just assume that you’re going to win a major,” Ram told Chris Bowers on the ATP Podcast. “But we seem to play our best there for sure. For whatever reason, I think a lot of things suit our game [there] and as tennis players, we tend to do well at places we’ve done well before.
“I do think it’s a pretty substantial achievement that we were able to win it three times in a row just because even if you do well in play, something has to go your way. And so for that to happen three years in a row was pretty special for us.”
Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram are crowned champions at the 2023 US Open.” />
Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram are crowned champions at the 2023 US Open. Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images
Despite an uncharacteristically slow start to the season, Ram and Salisbury have qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals for a fifth consecutive year. A second consecutive title in Turin would be the best possible way to close the year for Ram and Salisbury.
“It’s tough to say it’s not been a good year when we’ve won a Grand Slam. Had we not won the US Open, it would have been a very poor year by our standards,” Salisbury said. “But the fact that we did that, we always say that we want to do the best at the biggest tournaments and we managed to win one of the Grand Slams, so that’s obviously a huge achievement.
“Our aim is to be the number one team. That’s kind of the standards that we want to set ourselves and measure ourselves against. We’re obviously quite a long way off that this year. Obviously that’s pretty high standards to have. But that’s where we want to be.”
Boasting a 12-5 record together at the year-end event, the duo has won nine of the past 10 matches in Turin. Their first appearance ended in a round-robin exit. Since then, they have progressed one step further each year: semi-finals in 2020, runners-up in 2021 and champions a year ago. A sixth trip to the Nitto ATP Finals will only add to the list of the memories the duo cherishes from the event.
“I think qualifying my first time just because it felt like it’s such a big achievement,” Ram said. “To be there with the top eight singles guys, it’s just a different feel. It’s a smaller group of people, they do really make an effort to make you feel special, which is really nice. Then last year winning it, we went undefeated. We got close the year before, we were undefeated until the final, but to win it and especially to go undefeated is really special.”
Salisbury added, “I think the first time we qualified was a pretty amazing experience. It was the first full year that I was playing with Rajeev. I don’t think we qualified until the Paris Masters, which was pretty amazing. Just to be there on that stage playing at the O2 Arena [in London] was incredible. We’ve done better each year that we played it up until winning it last year. So that was an incredible way to finish the season and one of the best matches we played in that final as well. It is a really special tournament.”