Rajeev Ram & Joe Salisbury: A partnership for the ages | Tennis News


PUNE: For Rajeev Ram, his first Grand Slam success came at 36 when he won the Australian Open title with the Briton Joe Salisbury two years ago.
Since then, the pair have added two US Open trophies, the ATP The Tour Finals capped off three Masters titles last season and reached No. 1 in the standings.
It may have taken them a while to reap the rewards of their hard work, but the trophies seem to be coming one after another now.
And the success was made all the sweeter, especially for Ram who is the older of the two, since it came after they gave up on their single careers, albeit for entirely different reasons.
“For me, it was a physical thing, really. My body couldn’t handle the rigors of singles at that time, I think it was thirty-four or five, in 2017. I probably could have play a few more singles, but that would have been the end of my career,” Ram, the US world number 3, said in an interview with ToI at the Tata Open Maharashtra here on Sunday.
“As you said, it took so many years of hard work to win a Grand Slam, but it really wasn’t like that because my doubles career started in 2016 or 2017.”
Salisbury, 30, had to give up his bachelor dreams early on as he had to deal with a condition called mononucleosis, which severely disrupted his junior career.
“It was probably when I was around 16. I had glandular fever for about a year and had chronic fatigue issues after that. That’s part of the reason why I stopped playing singles,” said the world number 4.
The other common thread in their career comes from a country rich in tennis history and, therefore, living up to certain expectations.
Ram was actually nicknamed “Rampras” for his serve move’s resemblance to the great Pete Sampras.
“Obviously anything to do with Pete Sampras in tennis is a compliment. That’s kind of how I learned tennis. I learned by watching and imitating and I found myself with a service that I guess is a bit like his. I wish it was a bit more like his in terms of quality,” the Indian-American said.
Salisbury said the age difference between the two didn’t matter as both had the right “attitude” and “similar personalities”.
“There’s a bit of an age gap. But I think we’re quite similar in how we approach a lot of things on and off the pitch,” said the London native.
“We have a similar mentality, and quite similar personalities as well, in many ways. And we have a good attitude to keep improving, to keep improving. It doesn’t matter what kind of success we have, whether we have bad tournaments or winning a tournament, we just have the same attitude.”
At a time when partnerships don’t last long, Ram said the key to doubles success is finding solutions as a team rather than as an individual.
“I appreciate that it’s a team sport, and one of the things I’ve learned is how to be a little better in a team environment,” he said, “because we have a partner there and we have to understand things as a pair, not just as an individual.
“Therefore, my advice to people trying to succeed or move up the doubles ranks is not to worry too much about the tennis side.
“But find that situation where you feel you can have the best partnership and I think that will produce the best results. I always thought it was more about tennis, but I don’t think it’s more the case.”



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