Ramanathan: ‘I tried being aggressive against Cilic’

The 23-year-old said he gave his best from the first point, but, “Cilic is a Grand Slam champion, so you got to take a lot of things from him.”

Ramkumar will be now gearing up for the Australian Open, following which, he will fly to the U.S for a few weeks of training with coach Emilio Sanchez.   -  R. Ragu

Ramkumar Ramanathan, the new tennis sensation from India, crashed out of the ongoing ATP 250 tournament — losing to Grand Slam champion Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-3 — but he believes the encounter has been a lesson and it is only a matter of “few points here and there”.

The 23-year-old said he gave his best from the first point, but, “Cilic is a Grand Slam champion, so you got to take a lot of things from him. I don’t think there was any mental block. I tried being aggressive. With these players, it is a matter of few points here and there,” he said.

Ramanathan broke Cilic in the first set when the Croatian started to launch missiles at him. “It is never easy to close the set. I got the error out of him. There was a 30-30 situation, when he made a mistake,” he revealed. Though his opponent carried the Grand Slam tag, Ramanathan knew he had a chance.

“You always have a chance. He had told me to enjoy the match. Like I said, a few points cost me dear but it was a lesson to learn and I am on the right track. It is also fun to play when the crowd is behind you. Whenever there is a closing point or a deuce, the crowd can help,” he added.

Ramanathan took Cilic’s view on his backhand positively. “I am improving on that. My slice has improved and today, I tried keeping it deep and short but I was pushed back. He knew what to do, that’s how big players walk into a match.”

He will be now gearing up for the Australian Open, following which, he will fly to the U.S for a few weeks of training with coach Emilio Sanchez. “I will also be available for the ATP and Challengers there, that’s the plan,” he informed.

He seconded Cilic on the new venue. “Pune has done a great job. Last year, we had Davis Cup and the Challenger here. People here turn up no matter who is playing. It is always good to play where you have played many matches before — the centre court.”