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September 9, 2022

Rajeev Ram

Joe Salisbury

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference


7-6, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations. Tremendous accomplishment. Two highly contested sets. Just under two hours. Would each of you just give us your assessment of the on-court performance this afternoon.

JOE SALISBURY: Yeah, I mean, definitely very tough match. Very tight sets. I think everyone was a little bit tight, a little bit nervous, as you'd expect, at the start of the match. I think everyone kind of got into it more and more as the match went on.

I felt like we were hanging on to it a little bit in the first set. Those guys were, especially Wes, were returning amazing. Managed to hold on to our service games and come up with really good returns in the tiebreak, which got us over the line in the set.

Obviously went down a break in the second set and managed to bounce straight back, yeah, which is something we are really happy with. What we managed to do the semifinal, as well.

Yeah, I think we were quite happy that we won it on that first match point after some of the matches we have had recently (smiling).

RAJEEV RAM: Yeah, not much different than that. I thought, we said this last year, it's a difficult court to play on at that time, the shadow is really tricky. Actually from both sides it's a little tough. I thought we did a good job just to hold all of our service games in the first set.

Got down early mini break in the breaker and found a little magic. Not sure where that came from. I think that's just what we can do when we stick with each other and believe in each other. Hit two return winners, won the last four points of the breaker.

Like Joe said, that second set battled back like we did yesterday and kind of just found a way. I thought the level of intensity kind of got better and better, and was really happy, like he said, to win it on that first one.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Joe, you have had a few ups-and-downs this season. Does that make it sweeter to sort of come to the last slam and win the title?

JOE SALISBURY: Yeah, very sweet. I think, especially how we have ended the last couple of slams, we had match points in the French Open and Wimbledon, and lost both those matches.

To come through here and to get the win and to come back from some tough situations in some matches makes it extra special.

Yeah, I think we are a bit shocked that we have been able to win this twice in a row and especially to back up what we did last year. We won a Masters and then the US Open last year. Then I think we were thinking, yeah, we had a tough ask to defend all the points that we won last year.

But to have done it again is amazing.

Q. Joe, I know you were struggling a bit with your back over the summer, and that's obviously been something you have had to deal with. Can you talk a bit about how much that has affected you, if it's affected you at all? Kind of what you have gone through to be fit for these tournaments?

JOE SALISBURY: Yeah, I have been struggling a little bit for a lot of this year. Had a bit of time off after Wimbledon. Yeah, took a little bit of a break and had a long training block and then didn't come out here until Montreal.

Yeah, I made a few technical, little technical changes to the serve, had a lot of gym work, rehab and strength training to help with it.

Yeah, I have got an amazing team, a lot of great coaches around us to help with all of that and all of the support from the LTA with the strength and conditioning and the physios who have done an amazing job.

So, yeah, I think it feels amazing that it's all come together this quickly and we have had such success so soon after that.

Q. What's it like when you guys end up on the opposite side of the net? Rajeev, you said you are going to play Davis Cup. I think you're going to play as well, right, Joe? How does that all work?

RAJEEV RAM: We don't know yet. We were a match away from doing it at the Olympics, a match away from doing it in Australia a couple years ago in the mixed. We have played each other before, but it was before we started playing together.

I'll let you know in a couple days, I guess. I don't know. We're going to have to wait and see.

Q. Any secrets that...

JOE SALISBURY: Yeah, I think it will be a little bit like -- I mean, the match we played against some of the teams like Cabal/Farah in the semis and Neal and Wes in the final, it will be similar to that.

Rob, who is coaching Wes at the moment, he used to be our coach. So kind of the first time we have played against them we were kind of thinking, Well, he knows all the things we like to do, so are we going to do the opposite or are we going to do a double bluff.

So it's a little bit similar to that where they know what we like to do, we know what they like to do. It's kind of whether you stick to your guns and do the same things or you change it up a little bit.

I mean, yeah, it will be interesting if we do play against each other.


JOE SALISBURY: What kind of tactics we come up with and how we approach the match. Definitely will be a little bit strange, yeah.

Q. Will you maintain conversation and communication if you end up playing each other? Or will you try and keep apart during the course of Davis Cup?

RAJEEV RAM: I don't know, to be honest. I mean, it's a few days away. But obviously we are pretty happy to communicate with each other at the moment, given what just happened.

I think we will worry about that once we cross the pond and get with our teams.

Q. How do you find that? Britain will be well-supported in that match.

RAJEEV RAM: Look, I think it's great. I think any time tennis is well-supported, it's fun. Even the other day, played the Colombians, or yesterday, it got a bit difficult at times. We have all played matches now for extended periods of times in front of nobody, what we just went through with the pandemic.

I'm always very happy to play in front of people. Even if nobody roots for me, I think it's still great.

Q. Congratulations on back-to-back titles in New York. What do you think makes you click so well in New York? Also, have you ever had any interactions with the Woodies who were the last guys to win back-to-back doubles titles?

RAJEEV RAM: Well, Joe might disagree with this but I have always said hard court is our best surface. So I think that's one thing, for sure.

I think our preparation for this tournament has been really good the last couple of years. Like Joe said, we won a Masters event leading up to it, different one this year than last year. Anyway, it's still the same thing.

We have a certain round of golf that we play the week before that's going to happen again next year. But no, I just think generally we get in a good flow this time of year, not much travel, not much all that stuff. We have happened to prepare really well in tennis also.

So I think tennis seems to do that whenever you do well certain places, you end up having good feelings and good memories and all that. So I think that's a big part of it for us.

Then with the Woodies, yeah, I do know them. Lucky enough to chat with them a few times. I didn't know that until someone said it just now.


RAJEEV RAM: '95/'96, they were the last people to repeat. Obviously if you can kind of emulate them anything in tennis, it's pretty good company to keep. I'm sure we will have a discussion about that at some point. It's pretty good for us, I'd say.

Q. Joe, is it strange playing out there with everything going on back at home over the last couple of days? Also five Grand Slam titles. Great record. How proud are you of that? The Open record for Brits is seven. Is that now a target for you?

JOE SALISBURY: Yeah, it's definitely felt a little bit strange, especially after the win yesterday. We were on such a high from that. It was an incredible match. We were so happy with that win.

Obviously then to come off court and see the news was very sad. And I think, yeah, I think everyone wasn't quite sure how to act.

I think it didn't feel appropriate to be overly celebrating or at least showing that too much, because obviously everybody is back home and around the world is in mourning at the moment, and it's a very sad time.

Definitely feels a bit strange to be in this situation. Obviously we are very happy with the success that we have had, but, yeah, it's a sad time at the same moment.

And then, sorry, what was the second question?

Q. Fifth Grand Slam title. How proud are you of that achievement? The record is seven. Is that a target for you now, in the Open era?

JOE SALISBURY: Yeah, I'm very proud of that. I think we have always said these are the ones we want to win. We focus our preparation and everything throughout the year on winning the Grand Slams.

Yeah, it feels so special to have won this again. I haven't really thought about the record too much. Yeah, I guess I did know that it was seven.

But, yeah, we are just going to keep focused on the next one and winning as many as we can. Obviously if at some point I can get that record, that would be amazing.

Yeah, it's not something that I'm focusing on.

Q. During the final, the LTA announced that the Davis Cup is going ahead, confirmed that. Just wondering, were you involved in discussions? Have you and Neal talked about that? Any communication? Obviously has been a lot of discussion back home which kind of sports should or shouldn't go ahead.

JOE SALISBURY: No, I haven't spoken to anyone about that. I think Leon and the rest of the team are kind of doing their own thing at the moment and letting us just focus on the tournament out here.

Yeah, I mean, I heard that it was still going ahead. I know that a lot of other sporting events got canceled this weekend. Yeah, I don't know, maybe because it's later on next week that there is a bit of time before it starts that they made that decision.

Yeah, I haven't been involved in that at all.

Q. Now, with the win, fourth straight year you're into the ATP Finals, can you just speak a little bit to the consistency you have found to be able to stay at the top for so many years.

RAJEEV RAM: I think it has a lot to do with the people that we surround ourselves with. We have a consistent group of great people. I think they kind of push us to make sure we perform each and every day, not only practice, but -- not only matches, but in practice also with the right kind of energy and attitude so that we can consistently perform at a high level.

I think that's one of the things we are probably the most proud of. We feel like we are a tough out, no matter when we play. Obviously you are not going to win every match, that's for sure.

If you can become difficult to beat all the time and win when you're maybe not at your best, you give yourself a chance a lot of times to go far in a lot of the tournaments. I feel like that's something that we have figured out pretty well and we have managed to do a lot of the times.

Q. Joe, looked like you were wearing a black armband during the match. I assume that's a mark of respect?

JOE SALISBURY: Yeah, it was, yeah. Yeah, Neal was wearing a black ribbon, as well, I think.

Yeah, I think we felt like should and we wanted to, yeah, just show a sign of respect and just acknowledgement of the situation we are in because, yeah, it's a huge moment in our history. And I think, yeah, we felt like we just wanted to show a sign of respect for that.

Q. Back to the tennis. I know there are various doubles permutations for the Davis Cup, but do you think you and Neal can be a good team together?

RAJEEV RAM: Good insight here for us, I think (smiling).

JOE SALISBURY: Yes, definitely.

RAJEEV RAM: (Laughter.)

NEAL SKUPSKI: I think if we played together, everybody else will be in trouble (smiling).

No, I mean, we have played really well together before. I think last year at Davis Cup we didn't play our best, and, yeah, we were disappointed with our performance. We have won tournaments together before. We have shown that we can play well on the biggest stage.

Yeah, we get on really well together. Whatever the team will be, if we play together, if we are separate, if one of us plays, the other one doesn't, I think we are just going to be doing whatever is best to support the team.

Yeah, if we did, then I'd be very confident that we can play well and get a result together.

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