Dominic Thiem's US Open win inspires Ramkumar Ramanathan

Ramkumar Ramanathan said it were the exhibition matches that gave Dominic Thiem the edge over others when tennis resumed in the professional circuit.

File photo of Ramkumar Ramanathan who has had success against Dominic Thiem in the past.   -  V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Ramkumar Ramanathan beat Dominic Thiem in Antalya in June 2017. The Austrian, world No.8 then, was fresh from playing the semifinals in Roland Garros. Thiem went on to make the pre-quarterfinals of Wimbledon after losing to Ramkumar on grass in Turkey.

When Thiem won the US Open in New York to fulfil the promise he had shown while reaching three Grand Slam finals earlier, the 25-year-old Ramkumar was thrilled.

"I was extremely happy for Thiem winning the US Open. Congratulations to Thiem’s team for doing an amazing job," said Ramkumar.

Getting ready to fly to Paris for the qualifying event of Roland Garros, after over five months of stay at home in Chennai, Ramkumar appreciated the exemplary effort of the 27-year-old Thiem, a top-10 player in the world for the last five years.

Read: Thiem wins US Open final on tiebreak against Zverev after five-set thriller  

"Thiem is full of grit. He really deserved the title. He is a wonderful human being," said Ramkumar, ranked 197 in the world.

Ramkumar said that Thiem was ready when tennis resumed in the professional circuit.

"I heard the other day that Thiem played 43 exhibition matches before the Tour started. That shows how much he loves playing matches. Even though they were exhibition matches, I feel it gave him the edge over others, as match play is vital," observed Ramkumar.

On his part Ramkumar has been working on his fitness for the last five months, which included the core workouts with a bunch of players connected from across the country on zoom. In fact, the group, of about 70-odd players, celebrated 150 days of workout with a cake.

"I have been doing a mix of speed, strength and agility training, combined with our core class on zoom. I have been practising in the morning with Abhinav Sanjeev Shanmugam, Manish Sureshkumar and Prithvi Sekhar at the Nungambakkam Stadium for the last few weeks, thanks to the special permission from the Tamil Nadu government," said Ramkumar.

"I am looking forward to competing in the circuit," said Ramkumar, eager to put his game and fitness to test.

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