Joe Salisbury

Joe Salisbury ready to harness home crowd in pursuit of Wimbledon title

Joe Salisbury is hopeful he can harness the home crowd after starting his Wimbledon campaign with a win.

Salisbury teamed up with American doubles partner Rajeev Ram to ease into the second round 7-5 6-4 against Casper Ruud and William Blumberg.

The 32-year-old is a three-time semi-finalist in SW19 – twice with Ram – but the pair fell in the first round last year.

However, they bounced back with victory at the US Open, their third consecutive Slam victory at Flushing Meadows, demonstrating they can use home support to their advantage.

And Salisbury is confident the British crowd can help them in their pursuit of a first Wimbledon title.

“It was nice,” he said. “It’s always a bit of nerves with the first match, especially after last year when we lost first round and didn’t have a good tournament, so definitely nice to get the win under the belt.

“The support was great, there were a lot of people out there around our court so it was nice to get the support and it was a decent match, we played some good stuff as well.

“It definitely adds a bit more pressure, a bit more nerves but most of the time I enjoy it and embrace it. Especially if you’re playing well it definitely helps.”

Salisbury and Ram were popular choices from the early Thursday crowds on Court 11, and Ram revealed he was pleased with the way the pair handled the pressure to avoid another early exit.

“It’s nice for us because we have a little bit on both sides, at the US Open and here,” said Ram.

“We have got better at using that to our advantage, whether that’s here or in New York. I think it’s something that if we do it can be really helpful for us if we progress, it’s great to have crowd support.

“We definitely want to play better than we did last year which we already have. It really is one match at a time, as cliché as it sounds, we have to focus on one match at a time, one opponent at time. Hopefully we’re still here for a while but you never know.”

Salisbury and Ram will hope for a deep run at the All England Club before attention switches to the Olympics, where Salisbury will represent Team GB with Neal Skupski and Ram will fly the US flag with Austin Krajicek.

But Salisbury insisted focus remains solely on Wimbledon before any thoughts of returning to Roland-Garros.

“We don’t get much preparation for it,” he added. “Now we are completely focussed on Wimbledon and once we are done here, hopefully not for another week and a half, then we will focus on the Olympics and then there is only a week until we go, so it’s not loads of time.

“We are both playing with guys we have played with a lot in the past so for me I am really looking forward to it. It’s really exciting.

“The Olympics is something I gave played once before and absolutely loved the experience, and that was not even the full experience because it was during Covid, so I am really looking forward to it but I am not really thinking about it. Wimbledon is a pretty big deal as well. I won’t think about it until after we are done here.”

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