Rajeev Ram, the newest member of the American Davis Cup team, is also one of the most experienced. Ram, who is 37 years old, is one of the more experienced players competing in the team tournament for the first time, but he is as enthusiastic as any youngster just starting out on the road. The area, on the other hand, will not be unfamiliar to him. Ram and his doubles partner, Britain's Joe Salisbury, recently reached the final of the ATP Finals in Turin, Italy, where the Americans will compete in Davis Cup group play this week against Italy and Columbia.
“To get to be here in Turin is cool because we are going to have spectators. But it's still going to be a bubble for us as players, which we haven't had for some time. It's going to be tough,” Ram said, “But that's the way it is. Regardless, couldn't be more excited to play on the team.”
Ram will play alongside John Isner, Reilly Opelka, Frances Tiafoe, and Jack Sock on the team. Ram is expected to partner with Sock, who is rated No. 4 in doubles and has 22 doubles titles. He provides two strengths to the team: powerful serving and doubles success, which he believes gives them an excellent chance of winning.
“We've got a great squad, to be honest. I think we have one of the best serving teams, I'm not going to say of all time, but of the group currently that's playing Davis Cup,” Ram said. “I feel like that's a big advantage for us.” Isner, who stands almost 7 feet tall, and Opelka, who stands 7 feet, both have massive deliveries. Ram adds that the team will benefit from the particularly fast conditions in Turin.
“That's suitable for everyone on our team," he said. I feel like we have fairly strong doubles and guys in singles that on their day can beat anyone on the day. I am pretty excited for our first matches, against Italy.”
For the first time, Salisbury is competing in the Davis Cup. Due to a national lockdown, Britain will play its first match in Innsbruck, Austria, with no fans in attendance. The quarterfinals will be held in Madrid, where large audiences are expected.
“Obviously it's a shame, especially it will be my first Davis Cup experience. Yeah, it won't be the same as normal,” Salisbury said. “That's obviously one of the great things about Davis Cup, is you get an amazing atmosphere. So, it's disappointing that's going to be the case, but obviously, hopefully, we can get through the group stages and get to Madrid, and there will be a crowd there.”