French Open 2021: Joe Salisbury ends Britain’s 39-year wait for Roland Garros title

Joe Salisbury and Desirae Krawczyk play at the French Open
Salisbury previously won a Grand Slam title with victory in the 2020 Australian Open men’s doubles

Joe Salisbury became the first Briton to win a main-draw title at the French Open in 39 years as he claimed the mixed doubles with Desirae Krawczyk.

Salisbury, 29, and American Krawczyk lost the first set but fought back to beat Russian duo Aslan Karatsev and Elena Vesnina 2-6 6-4 10-5.

He is the first British player to win one of the five main events at Roland Garros since John Lloyd in 1982.

That was also in the mixed doubles, alongside Australian Wendy Turnbull.

“I just want to say to Des, it has been an incredible week for us and I don’t think we expected this,” said Salisbury after securing victory on Court Philippe Chatrier.

“It has been so much fun playing with you – thanks for carrying me!

“To our team here and back home, you guys are amazing, and finally it’s been amazing to play in front of a crowd again – it’s my first time playing on this amazing court.”

Salisbury and Krawczyk hold their nerve

Salisbury was broken in his opening service game as the Russian duo took advantage and then backed it up as Vesnina held serve, despite successive double faults.

The British-American pair got on the board on Krawczyk’s serve thanks to some neat net play by Salisbury but could not stop their opponents taking the first set in 29 minutes.

A combination of powerful forehands from Karatsev saw them take the opener on their first of two set points.

Salisbury saved a deciding point in the second set with a timely ace to make it 3-3 and the Briton then earned a vital break to give him and Krawczyk a 5-4 lead.

The Londoner thought he had levelled the match with an ace on set point, but it was called out and a debate ensued with the umpire, with Salisbury labelling the decision “unbelievable”.

He proceeded to double fault, but it made no difference to the outcome of the set as Salisbury coaxed a volley between the Russian duo to take the match to a tie-break.

The British-American duo accelerated into a 4-0 lead in the first to 10 decider and held on to the advantage to earn themselves four championship points.

They only needed one, as Karatsev’s return off a Krawczyk serve dropped wide to seal the pair their first Grand Slam title together.

BBC News