Joe Salisbury to wear black armband in final in mark of respect for the Queen

·3 min read
Joe Salisbury, right, and Rajeev Ram are into a second consecutive US Open final (John Walton/PA) (PA Archive)
Joe Salisbury, right, and Rajeev Ram are into a second consecutive US Open final (John Walton/PA) (PA Archive)

Britain’s Joe Salisbury is planning to wear a black armband for the men’s doubles final at the US Open on Friday as a mark of respect following the death of the Queen.

Salisbury and American partner Rajeev Ram are bidding to win the title for the second year in a row and were playing their semi-final against Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah when the news was announced.

Asked if he would wear a black armband, Londoner Salisbury said: “Yes I think we probably should.

“I saw when we came off court. Obviously it is extremely sad news, a bit shocking as well. It seems pretty sudden. She has obviously been the Queen for pretty everyone’s whole life. Definitely we would like to do something during the match tomorrow.”

For the second year in a row in New York, there will be a British player on both sides of the net in the final after Neal Skupski reached his first grand slam showpiece in men’s doubles with Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof.

They defeated third seeds Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador and Dutch player Jean-Julien Rojer 6-4 7-5 to continue their brilliant season, and the world number one ranking, currently held by Salisbury, will also be on the line on Friday.

Salisbury and Ram’s match was a nail-biter, with the defending champions prevailing in a deciding tie-break, winning 7-5 4-6 7-6 (6) to move to within one victory of a third grand slam title together.

New York, and especially the area of Queens where Flushing Meadows is sited, has a large South American population and Colombian fans were out in force to cheer on Cabal and Farah.

Louis Armstrong Stadium was far from full but there was plenty of noise, which at times irked Salisbury and Ram, with Cabal in particular doing his best to whip up their supporters.

Salisbury and Ram looked in big trouble when the former pushed a forehand volley long to drop serve at 5-5 in the deciding set but he made amends with two excellent lobs to break straight back.

It was like a Davis Cup match, a football match. Obviously at times it can be a little annoying and frustrating but it was a fun atmosphere to play in

Joe Salisbury

The tie-break was close but Salisbury and Ram were rock solid, holding onto an early advantage to reach their first grand slam final of the season and extend their winning run in New York to 11 matches.

Salisbury said: “It was pretty epic. A lot of up and downs. We’re just so pleased with how we stuck in there. Really happy to be in the final.

“I think we were expecting that they might have more support, we knew there would be a lot of Colombians there, but I think that was more than what we were expecting.

“It was like a Davis Cup match, a football match. Obviously at times it can be a little annoying and frustrating but it was a fun atmosphere to play in.”