American Rajeev Ram won his third Grand Slam title recently when he and his doubles partner Joe Salisbury went on to win the 2021 US Open men’s double title. Today we look at the career of the American world no. 5 in doubles and his journey to the top.
The Early Years
Born to Indian parents in Denver, Colorado, Ram picked up the racquet from a young age. He had a very successful junior career, winning a total of 9 junior titles including the National Clay Court 14 and Under Singles title, the Boys’ 16 and Under National Championship, the 18 and Under Easter Bowl title and the Target Cup amongst others.
Ram’s successful junior career paved way for a wild card entry to all of the Grand Slam junior tournaments and he went on to finish runner-up at the 2002 Wimbledon Junior Championships in the doubles category. Ram further went on to win the national doubles title and won the 2003 NCAA Team Championship
After turning professional in 2004, Ram had a couple of quiet years before his breakthrough season in 2007. After winning five doubles Challenger titles, Ram won his first Challenger singles title in 2008 at the Nielsen USTA Pro Tennis Championship. The next year, he won his first ATP doubles title in India.
Ram continued his good form as he won the Atlanta Tennis Championship doubles title in 2010 with Scott Lipsky. Their partnership continued as they went on to win the San Jose Open doubles title and the Delray Beach title. The pair even managed to reach a career-best Grand Slam quarter final at the 2011 French Open. Ram also won the St. Petersburg Open in 2012 with Nenad Zimonjić.
Ram’s successful partnership with Lipsky continued as they put in an impressive performance at the 2014 US Open to reach the semifinals before losing to the eventual winners, the Bryan brothers. The following year, though, saw a change for the American as he began a new partnership with Raven Klaasen and they started off well by winning the Noventi Open in Halle, Germany in 2015. Aside from his doubles success, Ram also won his second ATP singles title at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in 2015.
Ram started 2016 strongly with wins at the Chengdu Open and Noventi Open with Klaasen and also teamed up with compatriot Venus Williams for the 2016 Olympic Games. Williams and Ram fell agonisingly close of a maiden mixed doubles gold medal, losing in the finals to fellow Americans Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jack Sock. Ram capped off a strong season with a maiden Grand Slam final debut at the 2016 US Open but once again, like the Olympics, fell short of the title.
Ram continued his doubles dominance at the ATP level, winning the Delray Beach and ATP Masters with Klaasen and the Shenzhen Open and Hall of Fame Open with Aisam-Ul-Haw Qureshi and Alexander Peya respectively in 2017. Even though the elusive Grand Slam evaded him, Ram continued to showcase his dominance, further winning the ATP Masters 1000 in Paris with Marcel Granollers, the BMW Open with Ivan Dodig and the Kremlin Cup with Austin Krajicek the following year.
Ram began a new partnership with Joe Salisbury in 2019, one that, till date, has brought him a lot of success. The pair started off by winning the Erste Bank Open and Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in 2019. Ram won his first Grand Slam title that year as well, taking home the Australian Open mixed doubles title with Barbora Krejčíková, defeating Astra Sharma and John-Patrick Smith in straight sets in the final.
Ram started 2020 with success as he and Salisbury won the Australian Open men’s doubles final. Ram partnered Krejčíková once again at the 2021 Australian Open, where they emerged victorious at the mixed doubles category. Ram went on to reach the finals of the men’s doubles too, with Salisbury, eventually losing to Ivan Dodig and Filip Polášek.
Ram and Salisbury continued their strong form as they won the Masters 1000 at the National Bank Open and reached the finals of the Italian Open, going down in the finals to the Croatian pair of Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić. Ram clinched his fourth Grand Slam title at the 2021 US Open, where he and Salisbury took down Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares in the final.