(September 8, 2023) FLUSHING, NY – Rajeev Ram (USA) and Joe Salisbury (GBR) won their third consecutive US Open men’s doubles championship today, defeating Rohan Bopanna (IND) and Matthew Ebden (AUS), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Ram and Salisbury are the first men’s doubles team in the Open Era (since 1968) to win three straight US Open titles. The last team to accomplish the feat was the all-American duo of Tom Bundy and Maurice McLoughlin from 1912-14.
“I’ve been lucky to come here since I was 14 years old,” said Ram during the trophy presentation. “I remember I did Arthur Ashe Kids Day when this stadium opened, I think 1997, with John McEnroe and Pete Sampras.
“I could never have thought about this in my wildest dreams. I have to thank my partner, this is our fifth year together. It’s not been the best of seasons, we’ve stuck it out, put in a lot of hard work and kept believing. I can’t believe we’re here!”
The team was forced to regroup after losing the first set.
“I think that’s where experience has a lot of benefit,” Ram said of their partnership. “We actually were in the exact same position not last year but the year before, we lost the first set 6-2 and were completely getting outplayed. We knew we could do it because we did it before on that court, in that moment, in that match. So I, for one, I think called on that more than anything and had to remember what that felt like to try and turn it.
“It was little by little, but we were able to do it as a team. I think we were both not thrilled with where we were obviously in the first set, but the fact that we had done it before in that same moment was a big deal.”
Salisbury said: “We played a lot of good tennis this tournament. Today, especially the first set, was not very good. They played well. Obviously credit to them for not letting us play well.
“But I think, yeah, getting through tough matches where you’re not playing your best is, yeah, it’s very difficult to do. I think that’s what’s got us to kind of where we are now and winning these tournaments, because there is no chance if we hadn’t done that quite a few times, and I think that’s what we’re most proud of, because it’s easy when you’re playing well, but when you’re not and have to fight hard and the other team is playing well, that’s the really tough thing.”
At one point in the match there was a true act of sportsmanship, Bopanna conceded a point at 2-4, knowing an Ebden forehand hit his arm to change direction.
Ram praised his opponents for their honesty.
“Regarding that, like I said on the court, I don’t think — I don’t not think. I know I haven’t seen anything like that in all the years I have been playing, and especially not in a Grand Slam final. For someone to — you know, nobody saw it, nobody heard it. It would have been only him that would have known that happened, you know, if he didn’t say something.
“Quite honestly, when he was going to the chair, I thought he was complaining about something. I thought maybe somebody was maybe flashing something in his eye. The last thing I thought of was that he was going to give us that point.
“I don’t think he was complaining us. I just thought there maybe was something bothering him he was trying to get the umpire to do something about.
“Like I said, he could have gone, he would have been the only one that have known that that even touched him. That is an extra level of sportsmanship. It was in a huge point. It wasn’t like it was 40-Love. It wasn’t like it was — it was to give us Love-30 to possibly get two breaks and basically close out the match right there, I think.
“Yeah, I don’t even know what to say about that. I told him again in the locker room, I don’t any words to say how much I appreciate something like that.”
“This partnership is really special. It has been five years and we have got pretty close,” Salisbury said during the on-court interview. “Especially on the court and we know we are going to give it our all. Fight hard and give it our best until the very end. That is what we did today.”
“A hard-fought two weeks to get here to the final,” Bopanna said to media. “I think we started really well into that match, you know, breaking them twice and taking that momentum.
“We had a small chance in the second set early, you know, I think maybe we had a breakpoint, a close point where we didn’t really break.
“I had a feeling the momentum shifted a little bit. I played a loose game in the second set, missed a couple of easy forehands, which kind of giving that confidence and giving them that break. Yeah, I think third set, again, we had a long, long game at 1-2, you know, where we had a few good chances to, you know, to break and we didn’t convert.
“I think when they had a chance, they came up with the goods and got the better of us, you know, from there.”
Ram, 39, and Salisbury, 31, are 166-80 as a team (26-16 in 2023), on a 18-match winning streak at Flushing Meadows.