Britain’s Joe Salisbury claims French Open mixed doubles with Krawczyk
Joe Salisbury became Britain’s first French Open champion in one of the major draws for 39 years with victory in the mixed doubles alongside American Desirae Krawczyk.
Salisbury sounded slightly embarrassed to be in the final after he and Krawczyk were given a walkover in the last four but they showed they fully deserved their place by beating Russian duo Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev 2-6, 6-4, 10-5.
It is a second grand slam title for Salisbury, who follows in the footsteps of John Lloyd, the winner of the mixed doubles in 1982 with Australian Wendy Turnbull. Salisbury previously lifted the Australian Open men’s doubles trophy last year with another American, Rajeev Ram, while this is Krawczyk’s first slam title.
The pair both looked stunned afterwards, and Salisbury admitted the title came as a surprise, saying: “I think especially how the match went today just because they killed us in the first set, and I think it was a combination of us getting better, then they dropped their level a bit.
“I think all week we have just gone into it kind of relaxed, enjoying ourselves and seeing what happens. We have come out with a grand slam title. We weren’t really expecting this. It is a bit of a shock.”
Vesnina and Karatsev were much the better pairing in the first set but Salisbury and Krawczyk kept pace with their opponents through the second and took advantage when Karatsev suddenly went off the boil.
Salisbury thought he had served an ace to secure the set and he and Krawczyk sat in their chairs only to be called back on court by umpire, Carlos Ramos, who had decided the British player’s serve was out.
The Brit argued vehemently with the Portuguese official, and promptly served a double fault when play got back under way, but he held his nerve to clinch a third set point. And Salisbury and Krawcyzk maintained their momentum through the tie-break, taking their first match point when Karatsev sent a return wide.
Salisbury admitted it was tough to refocus after the disputed call, saying: “It was good it was 40-0 and not 40-30, because we lost the next two points. But that was a strange one. I just didn’t understand his point of view. I had to try and compose myself after that.”
Mixed doubles success has delayed Salisbury’s grass-court preparations and he will now head to Queen’s Club, where he and Ram will look to hit form ahead of Wimbledon. There will not be back-to-back slam titles for Salisbury and Krawczyk in the mixed doubles, though, with the Londoner revealing he is to team up with Harriet Dart.
“I thought it would be good to have an all-British partnership for Wimbledon,” said Salisbury. “So unfortunately I ditched her [Krawczyk] for that. But I’m sure we’ll team back up again after.”