Vastavam web: A “calmer and focussed” Ramkumar Ramanthan is not crying over losing out on the chance to create history in Indian tennis and he would rather savour the priceless moment of earning his maiden singles final on ATP World Tour. Ramkumar became the first Indian in seven years to advance to the singles final of an ATP World Tour event but missed out on ending India’s 20-year title drought when he lost the Hall of Fame final to Steven Johnson on Sunday night. “I was disappointed for not winning the final but it is tough to reach this far. I just fell short. I will watch the match (recording) again and see (what went wrong) but it’s a learning experience. And nothing can buy this moment, so I will take positives out of it,” Ramkumar told from Newport.
Ramkumar was not in great form coming into the tournament, having lost four first-round matches in a row — Winnetka, Recanati, Wimbledon qualifiers and Ilkley — but went on to create the best week of his career thus far. He said by adding meditation and yoga to his routine, he has learnt to transform himself from being someone who will be defensive when attacked, to a player who will not buckle in pressure cooker situations. Plus, after the big confidence-boosting win over top-10 player Dominic Thiem, things have been falling in place for the Chennai boy. “I regularly took yoga and meditation classes when I was 12-13 years old but then I stopped. Now for the past one year I have added it to my routine and it does make a huge difference to my game. I am not putting myself under pressure now.
“I have been working on it and try to stay fresh and keep 100 percent energy on the court. The second round the match against Denis Kundla (at Newport) was tough but I remained composed.” Then Leander Paes was also watching from the stands and supported me. Sanjay sir also guided me. These little things also helped me stay mentally strong.” Paes has been mentoring Ramkumar for sometime. The two trained during the Maharashtra Open in Pune and also played a Challenger together before that. “It was not easy beating top-10 player Thiem. That win gave me the self-belief that I can play well against anyone. My coaches back in Spain, Emilio Sanchez and Angel Gimenez, were telling me same things but that win really boosted my confidence.”
The runner-up finish in Newport has catapulted him to a career-best rank of 115 which means he had a realistic chance to better his rank and earn himself a maiden appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam — the US Open. If not, he could have tried to make it via Qualifiers. But he has committed to play the Asian Games, which will partially clash with the US Open, the last Grand Slam of the 2018 season. “It’s okay. Playing for India is also important. It’s just one week. It’s prestigious, a big opportunity. I will give my best to win a medal for India. I always wanted to play Asian Games.”