Chandrasekaran: 'Ramkumar will keep getting better'

Ramkumar Ramanathan's childhood coach T. Chandrasekaran said that it was a matter of time before his pupil performed at his best at the highest level.

Ramkumar Ramanathan recently reached a career-best rank of 168.   -  AFP

Ramkumar Ramanathan’s rapid rise in recent weeks may be a revelation to many, but his childhood coach is not surprised.

Having trained Ramkumar from the age of eight, building a solid technique along the way, especially the explosive forehand, coach T. Chandrasekaran said that it was a matter of time before Ramkumar performed at his best at the highest level.

"Ram has the resources to beat any player on his day. He has good technique and physically he is getting better. As he has a good foundation, his growth is unstoppable," said former national coach Chandrasekaran, who has worked in various tennis academies around the country, including BAT in Chennai and the National Tennis Academy in Delhi.

"When he was 14, I used to tell Ram that whether you become world No.1 or not, I want your forehand to be world No.1," recalled Chandrasekaran, who retired from Railways and recently joined the Chandigarh Tennis Association as a visiting faculty.

On his part, Ramkumar has religiously built on that forehand to enter the big league, and reach a career-best rank of 168.

"Ram will keep getting better with more matches against top players. Since he is consistent, his education and growth will be that much quicker," Chandrasekaran said.

"He has good transfer of body weight, and blasts that forehand. His serve is getting better. He has a good physique and is very disciplined. He has everything to make it big in the professional circuit. At 22, he is still growing and a lot to learn. That will ensure that he reaches greater heights," observed Chandrasekaran.

The other coaches Emilio Sanchez, Sergio Casal and Juan Balcells have all built on the strong foundation of Ramkumar to help him sail smooth into the big league, where he is able to beat someone like world No. 8  Dominic

"When he returned from Emilio Sanchez the first time, Ram said that he was very happy with his technique and that nothing required to be changed," recalled Chandrasekaran.

At one stage, it had looked as if Ramkumar was getting stuck at the Futures level, but he risen superbly, reaching Challenger finals and making the quarterfinals of a Tour event as a qualifier.

"There is no doubt that Ram is capable of raising his level according to the quality of his opponent. It will all revolve around his confidence and self-belief. Before he beat Somdev Devvarman in Chennai Open, two years ago, I told him that he should first believe that he has a chance. He has more faith in his game and ability now," stressed Chandrasekaran.

He may be playing a lot of tournaments and giving himself less time to train, but the good thing about Ramkumar is that he is entirely focused on his tennis and stays away from all distractions, including his phone.

From being thrashed 6-1, 6-1 by Yuki in the Chennai Open at the start of the season, Ramkumar has really come a long way in the past few months.

"When a bad performance jolts a good player, he is bound to become better a lot quicker. Ram is beginning to handle pressure better. Pressure helps you to align focus," said the coach.

In short, there will be a lot of excitement when Ramkumar takes on the top players of Canada in the Davis Cup World Group play-off, soon after the US Open.

For, after all, Indian tennis gets the attention mainly during the Davis Cup!

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