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03 February 2020 | in Tennis, FISU Athletes, Summer World University Games

World University Games medallist wins Australian Open doubles

When Britain’s Joe Salisbury won the Australian Open men’s doubles title with Rajeev Ram on Sunday, fans of university sport would have found the name familiar.

 

Joe Salisbury and Darren Walsh, gold medallists in the men's doubles at Gwangju 2015Salisbury, who was ranked outside the world's top 100 two years ago, will now rise to number four in doubles, finally delivering on the promise shown at the Gwangju 2015 Summer Universiade.

 

At the Universiade four summers ago, Joe Salisbury (then a student of University of Memphis) and partner Darren Walsh (of Southern Methodist University) had led Great Britain to gold in the men’s doubles event.

 

The Universiade had presented a special opportunity for Salisbury to represent his country, a departure from what professional players are used to on the ATP Tour.

 

“Tennis is an individual sport, so you are travelling around playing for yourself,” he had said to FISU then. “Here, you’re playing for your whole country and so, when you win, it’s even better.”

 

At the Australian Open, Salisbury partnered up with American Rajeev Ram to beat Australian wildcards Max Purcell and Luke Saville, 6-4, 6-2 in the final.

 

Grand Slam tennis may not involve national teams, but the fact is that Britain is celebrating this victory as they would a Davis Cup win. The British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) also proudly tweeted a reminder of how far he’s come.

 

Salisbury’s immediate goal for the rest of the year is to remain inside the top 10, which would earn him automatic qualification to the Tokyo Olympics.