Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski to wear black armbands for Queen in US Open final

·4-min read

British doubles stars Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski are planning to wear black armbands in tribute to the Queen for their US Open final later on Friday.

The pair will be on opposite sides of the net, with Salisbury partnering American Rajeev Ram as they seek to successfully defend their title while Skupski is through to a first grand slam final in men’s doubles with Dutchman Wesley Koolhof.

Salisbury and Ram were in the middle of their semi-final against Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah when the news of the monarch’s passing was announced.

Salisbury said: “I saw when we came off court. Obviously it is extremely sad news, a bit shocking as well. It seems pretty sudden. She has obviously been the Queen for pretty much everyone’s whole life. Definitely we would like to do something during the match tomorrow.”

Skupski and Koolhof’s clash with Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer came afterwards, and the Liverpudlian was following developments while he waited.

He said: “On the way here we saw the doctors saying she was in trouble and we saw all the family going to Balmoral and it seemed to be it’s not very good news. Then we were watching Joe’s match and it popped up on CNN that the Queen had passed away.

“It’s obviously very sad to see and it’s terrible for the country and the royal family. What she’s done for the country and the world is incredible for so many decades.

“I spoke to Joe in the locker room and we’ll try to do something for her tomorrow and show our respects.”

It is the second year in a row there is guaranteed to be a British winner after Salisbury and Ram defeated Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 12 months ago, while either Salisbury or Skupski will end the contest as world number one.

Salisbury and Ram’s match on Thursday was a nail-biter, with the top seeds winning 7-5 4-6 7-6 (6) to move to within one victory of a third grand slam title together.

New York, and especially the area of Queens where Flushing Meadows is sited, has a large South American population and Colombian fans were out in force to cheer on Cabal and Farah.

Salisbury and Ram looked in big trouble when the former pushed a forehand volley long to drop serve at 5-5 in the deciding set but he made amends with two excellent lobs to break straight back and they were rock solid in the tie-break.

Salisbury said: “It was pretty epic. A lot of up and downs. We’re just so pleased with how we stuck in there. Really happy to be in the final.

“We knew there would be a lot of Colombians there, but I think that was more than what we were expecting. It was like a Davis Cup match, a football match. Obviously at times it can be a little annoying and frustrating but it was a fun atmosphere to play in.”

Skupski and Koolhof have already won six titles this season but had come up short at the slams so a 6-4 7-5 victory over Arevalo and Rojer was a huge moment.

Skupski said: “For me it’s an incredible achievement. I’m not satisfied yet, I want to go the whole distance and pick up the trophy with Wes. It’s an interesting match with the world number one on the line.

“It’ll be a great match. Nice to have two Brits in the final like last year. Hopefully it’s the different Brit that wins this year.”