21-year-old Ramkumar Ramanathan has taken the call to join the Indian tennis squad for the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I second round tie versus the Korea Republic very seriously. The Tamil Nadu player, who has a huge responsibility of filling in the shoes of the injured India No. 2 Yuki Bhambri, has fine-tuned his grasscourt game by training with the World No. 18 and former Wimbledon quarter-finalist Nick Kyrgios at the All England Club.
The rising talent lost in the second round of Wimbledon qualifying to the 21st seeded Daniel Brands but, being truly committed to his craft, he chose to stay back to make the most of the lucrative opportunity of practising on the world’s most famous grass courts.
With the Davis Cup matches scheduled to be held on grass at the Chandigarh Club from July 15-17, the youngster – who won the 2013 grass court Nationals – needed a good training partner to boost his confidence. And Kyrgios, who eventually bowed out to Andy Murray in the fourth round of this year’s Championships, was happy to pitch in with his fierce attacking game.
It turned out to be a very productive session and Ramkumar sounded very pleased about it in a recent interview with The Times of India.
“Grass has never been my forte. I had won the Nationals on grass in Kolkata in 2013, but since then I haven’t played much on grass. So, I stayed back last week to train on Wimbledon grass and even got an opportunity to practice with Nick Kyrgios. It was very helpful,” he said.
A recurring elbow injury has kept Bhambri away from competition since March and his failure to recover in time has facilitated Ramkumar’s debut, who had previously been in the squad but did not get a chance to play.
The World No. 231 is naturally excited about playing for his country and called it a ‘dream come true.’
“Playing in the Davis Cup will be a dream come true for me. I was in the Davis Cup squad before but I did not get the opportunity to play. Things are looking better for me now and I am trying my best to be included,” Ramkumar said.