It didn’t come by luck, says Ramkumar after Adelaide win | Tennis News – Times of India
Instead, he took a detour to Adelaide to fill in as stop-gap partner for compatriot Rohan Bopanna, and it turned out to be a wise decision.
Playing together for the first time on the ATP Tour, Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan ended up becoming the first winners of the 2022 season with the men’s doubles title at the Adelaide International on Sunday.
The combination defeated the Brazilian Marcelo Melo and Ivan Dodig of Croatia 7-6 (6), 6-1 in an hour and 22 minutes in the hard-court final.
It is Ramkumar’s first title on the ATP Tour — he had reached the singles final at Newport in 2017.
“For me to start the year like this, it’s a great feeling,” Ramkumar said.
“It was so much better for me to come here. I was not going to get into Melbourne ATP. It ended up playing six matches (including one in singles qualifying) and winning the tournament here.
“I enjoyed every bit of it on court, which is why I could play so well.”
And it will be a big boost for Ramkumar’s singles career as well.
World ranked 184 in singles and 101 in doubles, the Indian clinched his maiden Challenger title in Manama towards the end of 2021 season. It broke a jinx, coming as it did in his seventh final appearance.
“The Manama title was a big tournament for me. After losing six challengers finals, to win that tournament gave me a big boost. It didn’t come by luck or anything, I would say. I built it up,” Ramkumar said.
“I was playing good the last few months. It came in Manama. You never know when you’re going to win because it’s a matter of a few points.”
Ramkumar had touched a career-high 111 in singles ranking in 2018, but had struggled to break into the top-100. In fact, he had slid out of the 200 last year before bouncing back.
Bopanna, the senior most Indian player on the Tour, threw some light on what has helped his younger compatriot in recent months.
“I think what has changed is the belief in himself, especially (from the) end of the year. Ram was playing some good tennis, but now he’s starting to believe he can do well at tournaments, qualify at big events,” the Bangalorean said.
“I think it’s just a matter of time for him to string a few matches together, to break back into the 150, 100 again.
“With the way he serves, every time he plays aggressive, I think he’s a different player. It was really nice to see that side of him this week.
“I think it’s the first time in his career he was playing the ad side. I think that was a really big advantage for him.
“Everybody thinks his forehand is actually his big weapon and his backhand is weak. This week I realised his backhand is also extremely strong.
“He just needs to start trusting that side of his game. I think he has a tremendous potential to do well this year.”
For someone playing in only his second Tour final, singles or doubles, Ramkumar remained remarkably composed and hit his shots fluently.
“There were nerves, but I was laughing through the match,” he said.
“I was trying to keep my emotions in check, trying to play with the flow. There’s always tension when you play any match anywhere. But I think I handled it pretty well.”
Bopanna quipped: “Whenever Ram feels a little nervous, I speak to him in my broken Tamil, he laughs and relaxes. That really helps us communicate on the court. Yeah, truly that’s what happens.”
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