Ramkumar attains career-best rank

Being No.1 in the team is no big deal for Ramkumar who had a similar status against Uzbekistan in April in Bengaluru, albeit in a depleted team.

Ramkumar Ramanathan's fine performance at Winnetka Challenger fetched him 48 points and he jumped 16 places on the ATP rankings.   -  V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Ramkumar Ramanathan has virtually assured himself as the No.1 for India in the Davis Cup World Group play-off tie to be played on indoor hard courts in Canada in September.

Being No.1 in the team is no big deal for Ramkumar who had a similar status against Uzbekistan in April in Bengaluru, albeit in a depleted team. However, it has been a phenomenal jump of nearly 100 places from 267 in April.

The 22-year-old Ramkumar, who has been travelling extensively in pursuit of ATP points, has jumped 16 places on reaching the Challenger final last week in Winnetka, to be ranked a career-best 168 in the latest rankings released by the ATP on Monday.

From winning back to back Futures titles in Singapore, to reaching Challenger finals, to qualifying and beating a top-10 player Dominik Thiem of Austria in the ATP Tour event  on grass, Ramkumar has done it all, in his pursuit of reaching the top-100.

While Ramkumar has accomplished a total of 328 ATP points by competing for 33 weeks in the past one year, Yuki Bhambri and Prajnesh Gunneswaran follow him, ranked at 212 and 214 with 242 ATP points each. They have played 18 and 24 tournaments respectively.

Sriram Balaji (293), Sumit Nagal (306), Sasi Kumar Mukund (416), Vishnu Vardhan (430) and Saketh Myneni (432) are the other leading players in the Indian ranking list.

With Rohan Bopanna well placed at 22 in the doubles ranking, much ahead of Divij Sharan (51), Purav Raja (52), Leander Paes (59), Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (98), it is very likely that Davis Cup captain Mahesh Bhupathi will opt for five singles players, some of whom also play very good doubles, and his trusted doubles partner Bopanna, for the tie against Canada.

With Saketh Myneni making a successful return to the professional circuit by qualifying into the main draw of the $125,000 Challenger in Astana this week, after having missed six months of tennis on the Tour, the chances are bright for the Asian Games gold medallist to at least figure in the six-member team.

It will be interesting to see whether six or four players make it to the World Group tie against Canada. A four-member team will pick itself, and a six-member team will be based on the prudence of the captain and the selection committee.

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