• Had to withdraw from Paris Masters after coach Rob Morgan tested positive for COVID-19
  • He and partner Rajeev Ram have played just one match since reaching the quarter-final of Roland Garros
  • They start their campaign on the evening of Day 1
LONDON, UK – Joe Salisbury is the only British interest in the doubles raw this year but his preparation together with partner Rajeev Ram was disrupted following his coach testing positive for coronavirus.

 

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As London prepares to bid farewell to the ATP Tour Finals, there will be just one Brit in the doubles draw, as Joe Salisbury prepares to go one better this year than the group stages. But the withdrawal of Salisbury and partner Rajeev Ram from the Paris Masters leaves the pair with just one match played since Roland Garros.

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Salisbury explained: “I was in close contact with Rob, our coach, who tested positive. I waited for my test and mine came back negative, but I stayed there because I could obviously test positive later on. I got another test, that also came back negative so after four days I went back home and then got another negative test when I got back home.

“But the UK rules are that you have to isolate for 14 days if you’re a contact, so then I had to do 14 days from when Rob got his positive test, which was until yesterday.”

Since the return to elite sport, players have been having to get used to travelling from bubble to bubble, with different rules in different countries.

Salisbury added: “I think everybody was a bit stressed by it at the start when we went out to New York. Everybody was worried about it and then got used to it and just accepted obviously that it was a risk that we could have a positive test.

“But then – at least for me – I relaxed a bit about it and thought ‘well it’s been going fine so far, we’ve all been testing negative’ and I assumed it would keep going that way.

“And then obviously when this happened, I’ve been obviously worried about the situation here, hoping that I’m going to test negative, that everybody else in our team is going to test negative. The closer you get to it, and the closer you get to someone that has tested positive, the more you get worried about it I guess.

“It is a bit of a stress but it’s just the way it is now. You can’t do anything about it apart from be careful.”

This does leave Salisbury and Ram, seeded No. 2 here, with a dilemma having played just one match in Vienna since Roland Garros. The most that Salisbury could do was fitness work at home. He admitted with a laugh that he did not resort to the PE workouts of Joe Wicks, that had the nation exercising certainly at the start of lockdown, but focussed on body-weight and circuit workouts until he was able to take to the court again.

Salisbury said: “It always feels a little bit like that when you’re playing somewhere new, getting used to the court, the balls etc, new environment. It was ok, I was hitting the ball pretty well. Obviously not played any points or matches for a long time.

“We’ve only played one match with Rajeev in the last 5 weeks since French Open. We’ll practice again later, play some practice points and then we’re on tomorrow, so not the best preparation but we’ll see how it goes.”

Salisbury and Ram are in in the Doubles Mike Bryan group, and will start their campaign on Sunday, with play starting at 6pm.

 

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