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Australian Open Champ Rajeev Ram Back In Golden State

Feb 23, 2021
Rajeev Ram and Barbora Krejcikova with their mixed doubles trophy.

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Mixed Doubles Final Highlights
BERKELEY – Rajeev Ram returned to Northern California on Monday after a pretty eventful trip Down Under.
The volunteer assistant coach for the Cal men's tennis team competed in the 2021 Australian Open, winning his third career Grand Slam trophy – all in Melbourne – and narrowly missing out on a fourth. On Saturday, the 36-year-old American claimed the mixed doubles title with Czech teammate Barbora Krejcikova, with whom he teamed in 2019 to collect his first Australian Open trophy. Ram and British partner Joe Salisbury attempted to repeat as Australian Open champions in men's doubles, but the defending champs lost in Sunday's final.
The sixth-seeded Ram and Krejcikova posted five wins, including a close second-round victory over Cal alumnus Ben McLachlan and Ena Shibahara. That 6-4, 3-6, 13-11 result featured the only set they lost all tournament, with Ram and Krejcikova ultimately topping Samantha Stosur and Mark Ebden, 6-1, 6-4, in the final.
"It's pretty awesome," Ram said. "Grand Slams are the pillars of our sport. Whenever you can win and get your name on the trophy with all the other greats of the game and of the past, it's pretty special. It's humbling in a way."
The win marked a personal threepeat for Krejcikova, who won the 2020 mixed doubles title with a different partner.
"Barbora's a great player, and we had great success a couple of years ago," Ram added. "She plays great in Australia, and I expected us to be in there with a decent chance this year."
The defending men's champs came into Melbourne this year on a bit of a roll, having reached the semifinals of the 2020 US Open over the summer and the quarterfinals of the 2020 French Open in the fall. 

Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in the final.

Ram and Salisbury were seeded fifth this year and eliminated five pairs of opponents, including the sixth-seeded Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares in the semifinals, 6-4, 7-6(2). They only dropped one set through the semis, before falling to the ninth-seeded Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek, 6-3, 6-4, in the final.
"Little different from last year," Ram said. "We hadn't won a Slam yet and hadn't pushed past the quarterfinals. Every time we won a match, it was new territory. This year, we were the defending champs and we'd done well. We had a different attitude coming in. I was proud of the way we took what felt like a target on our backs and still performed at an incredibly high level the entire two weeks. That's a good sign for us for things to come. But we ran into a team that played fantastic in the final."
This is Ram's first year on a Cal coaching staff that includes assistant coach Horacio Matta, who is also in his first season with the Bears, and Director of Men's Tennis Peter Wright, who's in his 28th year at the helm of the program.
"It's incredible to have Rajeev on our coaching staff because he's worked so hard in his career to continue to improve and be relevant," Wright said. "Our guys benefit from practicing with him and picking his brain about how he's been able to have such an incredible career.
"It's funny that our guys think of Rajeev as a doubles specialist, and they're quite shocked when I tell them he's also won two ATP Tour singles titles. Rajeev has a bright future as a college coach because he's so plugged into the pathway to success, and he communicates with our players in a genuinely approachable and understandable way."
Ram currently sits 17th in the ATP doubles poll and has a career-best mark of No. 5. He won his ATP Tour singles titles in the Hall of Fame Championships in 2009 and 2015 in Newport, Rhode Island.