Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram were beaten by Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in the doubles final at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.
Salisbury was the first British player to reach the doubles showpiece in the event’s history and he was looking to emulate Andy Murray, who won the singles title in 2016.
He and American Ram, who have had another superb season, had narrowly beaten Herbert and Mahut in the group stages but the French duo were the better pair on the day and deserved their 6-4 7-6 (0) victory.
It is a second title in three years at the season-ending event for Herbert and Mahut, who also lifted the trophy in London in 2019.
An early break in the first set put Salisbury and Ram on the back foot and, although they held serve throughout the second, they were under significantly more pressure and that told in the tie-break.
“It’s obviously disappointing,” said Salisbury. “It was a bit of a combination of them playing very well, I thought they served very well especially, and we didn’t quite find it today, didn’t play our best.”
Salisbury now heads to Innsbruck, where he will make his Davis Cup debut for Great Britain.
He is set to partner Neal Skupski, and their first match is expected to be against Herbert and Mahut in what could be a crucial rubber in Britain’s opening clash with France next Saturday.
Salisbury said: “Obviously we’ll be expecting a very tough match. I’m confident I can definitely play better than I did today. We know whatever our team is for Davis Cup for the doubles, assuming it’s against those guys, we’re going to have to play very well to get the win. But I’m confident we can do that.”
Mahut signed the camera “Where is Peng Shuai”, echoing the social media hashtag that has been used to express concern for the safety of the Chinese player.
The 39-year-old said after his semi-final that he would not play in China if the situation remains unresolved, and he added: “I’m really behind the WTA and ATP. I think we need more. We need to get news from her personally.
“Of course, I couldn’t say anything on court when I have the camera. I was thinking about her. I hope she’s safe.”
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