Carmel’s Ram slams door on Grand Slam streak

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Rajeev Ram ended a streak he just learned existed.

Ram had been in 57 Grand Slam men’s doubles competitions without winning a title. That was the most of anyone since the Open Era began in tennis in 1968 when professionals were finally allowed to compete in Grand Slam tournaments.

The 58th time worked like a charm as the Carmel High School graduate and Joe Salisbury defeated Max Purcell and Luke Saville, 6-4, 6-2,  Feb. 2 in the Australian Open final. The winners split $760,000.

“I didn’t know that going in. Not sure it’s a record you want to have,” Ram said of the streak.

However, Ram, 35, did concede it meant that he has been consistently competing in the highest-level events.

Ram and Salisbury (Great Britain) won six matches total in the tournament with only one match going three sets. The 6-foot-4 Ram reached a career-high doubles ranking of No. 5 on Feb. 3.

“To say I got my name on the trophy in Australia is great, but makes me hungry to want more,” Ram said. “There are three other Slams I’d love to win, and I feel like winning one gives you confidence what you are doing actually works.”

Previously, Ram’s best Grand Slam showings were semifinal finishes at the 2014 U.S. Open and 2016 Wimbledon.

Ram and Salisbury began playing together in 2019.

“I thought we had a great year,” Ram said. “We made it to the year-end Masters and won a couple of big tournaments. It felt like we were knocking at the door, and to get through a Grand Slam, which was the first for both of us, was really great. I felt like we were ready for it in every way and we showed that with our performance throughout the tournament.”

Ram began concentrating only on doubles approximately three years ago. He has two ATP Tour singles titles, both on grass at Newport, R.I. When he was focused on singles, he said, “I was playing doubles whenever I could with whoever I could whenever it made sense.”

Ram won the 2019 Australian Open mixed doubles title with Barbora Krejcikova. Ram chose not to compete in the mixed doubles this year because he was recovering from an illness in mid-December 2019.

“I had a nasty virus that laid me up for a couple of weeks,” said Ram, who had to work himself back in shape during the ATP Cup Jan. 3-12 in Australia. “It wasn’t ideal or like anything else I’ve experienced before, but I managed to end up feeling pretty decent.”

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