Rajeev Ram upbeat about Chennai Open

With victories over Ivo Karlovic and John Isner, US-based tennis player Rajeev Ram has had a solid calendar year. Ahead of the much anticipated Chennai Open, Team Sportstar caught up with the former Men’s Doubles winner (2009) for a small interview.

Rajeev Ram reckons his new racket, the aero pro drive, has made his serve deadlier.   -  AP

With victories over Ivo Karlovic and John Isner, US-based tennis player Rajeev Ram has had a solid calendar year. Ahead of the much anticipated Chennai Open, Team Sportstar caught up with the former Men’s Doubles winner (2009) for a small interview.

You won your first ATP title in Chennai. And, since then you’ve done fairly well here. Is there anything that especially works for you while playing here?

I love playing in Chennai so that definitely helps with results. My family lives in Bangalore and they come to watch me play so it's like a hometown event for me. I love playing in India in general.

You had a setback in 2010 because of injuries. You then said that you overdid your training. Has the fear of injuries impacted your game ever since?

I wouldn't say the fear of injuries has impacted me but I have become much more aware of the importance of doing things to prevent them. Being smart about training has been a big emphasis in my career.

Can you tell us the changes you have made in your training sessions after your injury?

I have made sure to put high importance on warming up before practice, cooling down after, recovery, and rehab exercises. Being discipline about those things on a daily basis helps prevent injuries from even happening.

You defeated John Isner and Ivo Karlovic - both big servers - earlier this year. Did you do anything specific to improve your return of serve?

I can't say anything specific has helped me on the return but I think my racquet change to the aero pro drive and changing to solinco stings has provided a bit more forgiveness that has allowed me to get more balls in play especially off of big serves.

Your serve seems to have improved after you changed your racquet. Can you tell us how it has helped?

Since I switched to the aero pro drive, my average serve speed has definitely gone up. The racquet has great power as well as feel for control

Do you face any difficulties playing both singles and doubles? If so, what are they?

Playing both singles and doubles is hard because the work load becomes quite a lot on a weekly basis. I find the most difficult thing to be putting in the time to practice singles and doubles to be as good as I can in both. Finding that balance daily has become very important for me.

Will you consider playing only doubles in the future considering that it's less taxing than singles?

Yes, at some point in my career I will most likely play just doubles. I think that will be when I feel like I cannot be a top 100 player anymore and compete in the main draw of grand slams. For now though, I'm happy to continue as I am in the top 100 in both.

How long do you see yourself playing in the professional circuit? And, have you set yourself an ultimate goal before you hang up your boots?

For me, tennis has always been about improving and having fun. Those two things go hand in hand for me so if either one of them stops, I know it will be time to move on from professional tennis. As far as goals, I would say that winning a major and making the world tour finals in doubles and cracking the top 50 in singles would be it for me.