Rajeev Ram had no idea he and his doubles partner accomplished a rare feat until after their match.
Ram, a 2002 Carmel High School graduate, and Joe Salisbury, the top-seeded team, repeated as U.S. Open men’s doubles champions by defeating No. 2 seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 Sept. 9 in the championship in New York. It was the first time a team has repeated as doubles champions since Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde captured the title in 1995 and 1996. No other team has done that since 1968 when the Open Era of tennis professionals being able to compete with amateurs started.
“That’s a pretty cool stat,” Ram said. “You would think the Bryan brothers (Mike and Bob) would have done it since they won it five times, but somehow didn’t repeat. If you are the first to do something since the Woodies (Woodbridge and Woodforde), that’s pretty good company I’d say.”
Ram, 38. said the first time he won the U.S. Open was incredibly special because it’s his home nation’s Grand Slam.
“I was quite proud of this one, because anytime you play at a tournament as defending champion, you have a mark on your back,” he said. “We’re ranked the top two players in the world, so all those things mean you are going to get everyone’s best effort.”
It was Ram’s third men’s doubles title in a Grand Slam. Ram and Salisbury also won a men’s doubles title at the Australian Open.
Ram has won the Australian Open mixed doubles title twice with Barbora Krejcikova in 2019 and 2021.
Ram and Salisbury entered the U.S. Open after winning the title Aug. 21 in Cincinnati.
“I feel like we’re in the position if we produce the right attitude, energy, togetherness and team chemistry that we’ve become difficult to beat,” Ram said. “Cincinnati was an important part of why the U.S. Open went as well as it did. We were able to play some matches and get through a tough draw (in Cincinnati). When you win a Slam there is always going to be a little luck, and I think that was the reason the luck favored us this time around as it hadn’t in the French Open (quarterfinals) and Wimbledon (semifinals). We had match point in both those matches and didn’t win them (earlier in the summer).”
Ram and Salisbury are seeking to be the No. 1 seeds heading into the ATP Tour Finals Nov. 13-22 in Italy. Ram and Salisbury lost in the 2021 men’s doubles title match at the ATP Tour Finals.
Ram said the duo’s play this year is similar to 2021.
“I think we can still do a little better on the clay,” he said. “We won Monte Carlo this year but then we lost three first rounds in a row. We have the same kind of attitude about how we always want to improve and get better. We’ve gotten to know each other really well and we have an element of knowing whatever the other says or does is in the best interest of the team. Our consistency shows that we are in the mix of these big tournaments pretty much all the time.”
Ram had no time to celebrate the U.S. Open victory. The day after he won, Ram had to fly to Scotland to compete for the U.S. in last week’s Davis Cup.