Ramkumar Ramanathan announced himself to the world when he pulled off an unexpected victory over India’s No.1 Somdev Devvarman in the Chennai Open early this year. He is representing Bangalore Raptors team in the currently ongoing Champions Tennis League (CTL), and is enjoying the tournament. Sports Rediscovered’s Abhijit Raghunathan gets into a tete-a-tete with the gritty lad from Chennai.
Q: You made headlines when you beat India’s No.1 Somdev Devvarman in the Aircel Chennai Open 2014. What did it feel like?
Ramkumar: To beat Somdev was certainly a huge thing. Moreover, being a Chennai boy, the victory tasted even more sweet in front of the home crowd.
Q: What is your philosophy or how do you prepare for a match?
Ramkumar: I have always liked to keep things simple. All I think about before entering a match is to enjoy it. I always want to enjoy every moment of the game. As far as philosophy and secrets go, I believe in hard work as well as complete commitment. I have worked extremely hard with my coaches in Spain, and at the moment, I am very confident about my game.
Q: What do you think of the CTL on a whole?
Ramkumar: It is a lovely concept. I was very excited when I learned that I would be participating in such a tournament. Had it not been for this, I probably would not have met such top players and legends such as Thomas Enqvist and Feliciano Lopez. For a young player like myself, I feel that I am learning a lot from the experience and advice that they have to offer.
Q: You have partnered Feliciano Lopez for the doubles matches. How is he as a doubles partner?
Ramkumar: He (Feliciano Lopez) is amazing as a doubles partner. The general game plan for us was that we were at an advantage when I was serving, and since he is very good at the net, I felt that we could close out the service game very quickly and effectively.
Q: Who is the funniest person in the group?
Ramkumar: (Chuckles) I really do not think that there is a “funniest” person among us. We all go for training, come back, crack jokes and are serious when we have to be. I think we gel well as a team and there is good chemistry between us. However, if I have to pick the funniest, it would be Thomas Enqvist. (Laughs) Please don’t tell him I said that, he will kill me, being the team captain and everything.
Q: Having come this far in your career, is there any pressure on you to perform at the ATP level?
Ramkumar: Not really. As I mentioned earlier, it is all about enjoying the game. Those guys (Lopez, Enqvist and Venus Williams) are all used to this. They have been doing it for so many years now. Some of the younger guys like myself are learning to deal with the game pressure. But, as I said, it is all about enjoying the game.
Q: What do you think about the Bangalore crowd who have been supporting you? Do you like the ‘Garden City’?
Ramkumar: I have been playing in Bangalore since I was 8. I have also trained at the KSLTA since the same age. I always love coming to Bangalore. It is a great place.
The fans have been really great. They got on Lopez’s back yesterday (Sunday) during the men’s singles. We could have won. But tennis is not always about winning or losing. We were close, but a bit of bad luck took the game away from us.
This is the second in a two part interview with Ramkumar Ramanathan. Click here for Part 1.
Sports Rediscovered would like to thank Ramkumar Ramanathan for the interview and we wish him all the very best for his career.