For Rajeev Ram, the proof that he and Joe Salisbury keep progressing as a team came in their march to the U.S. Open men’s doubles title.
“This tournament really proved it, because I don’t think we played our best in any of the matches,” said Ram, a 2002 Carmel High School graduate. “We had to fight, scrape and dig and stick together. It wasn’t pretty really the whole way through, except for the last two sets of the final where we hit full stride. Up to then it was a battle the whole way. The fact we were able to come out of it speaks to our team chemistry and our fight.”
Ram and Salisbury rallied to defeat Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 Sept. 10 to capture the U.S. Open men’s doubles crown in New York. Ram and Great Britain’s Salisbury split $660,000 as champions.
“Being an American, it’s the one you know about, the one you follow and the one you want to win the most,” Ram said. “After we won, it took a little while to sink in that we got it. It was pretty sweet. I rate all the Grand Slams the same as far as prestige. But being an American, this is special.”
It was the duo’s second Grand Slam title, having previously won the 2020 Australian Open. Ram and Salisbury, who are in their third year playing together, have now reached at least the semifinal round in five of the last seven Grand Slams.
“I feel we have a good routine and a good way to play and go about our business,” Ram said. “Feeling you are one of the best in the world and competing for the biggest titles week in and week out is a great feeling. That’s something I set as a goal years ago that I want to be in that position. Some of the extenuating circumstances (amid the COVID-19 pandemic) has made it not quite as fun. But the tennis portion is quite enjoyable at the moment.”
Ram and Salisbury won the ATP Masters doubles title Aug. 15 in Toronto. They are ranked No. 2 as a team and have clinched a spot in the ATP Finals doubles tournament in Italy in November.
This was Ram’s fourth career Grand Slam crown, having previously won the Australian Open mixed doubles with Barbora Krejcikova in 2019 and 2021.
At 37, Ram is on top of his game, matching his career-high individual doubles ranking of No. 5 on Sept. 13.
“You never know what is around the corner, so I don’t look too far ahead,” said Ram, who gave up playing singles in 2017 to concentrate on doubles. “I just try to take it one tournament at a time, as cliche as that sounds. I try to put my best foot forward and hope that is good enough to compete in these big tournaments.”