Ramkumar: ‘Leander should have played Asian Games’

Ramkumar Ramanathan, looking to turn the tide in the Davis Cup qualifiers come 2019, says Leander Paes’ presence could have changed team results in the Asian Games.

"I wish, Leander would have played that because it was Asian Games and anything would have happened. We all missed him there," said Ramkumar Ramanathan.   -  FILE PHOTO/V. SREENIVASA MURTHY

As the Indian tennis contingent prepares for the Davis Cup qualifiers against Italy come 2019,  Ramkumar Ramanathan — currently the No 2 singles player in the country — is keen for a turnaround.

Ramkumar, who had a mixed season, stressed on the need for experienced players such as Leander Paes to guide the younger crop.

Talking on the sidelines of the event, Celebrate Tennis, here on Sunday, Ramkumar recalled how much the contingent missed Leander when he pulled out of the Asian Games at the last moment. He was miffed at not getting a specialist men’s doubles partner.

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India had won five medals in Incheon 2014 but this time around — in Jakarta and Palembang — it could manage only three.

Ramkumar feels Paes’ presence could have changed the results. “Well, he is just Leander. He is a good friend of mine. Nothing against him. But I wish, he would have played that because it was Asian Games and anything would have happened. We all missed him there. I was supposed to play with him but that's how it is and it's sad that he could not make it,” he said.

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Need for breaks

With tennis players playing a lot of tournaments to maintain their rankings, Ramkumar feels a break is always required for a longer run. To cope up with this, he wants to take gaps between tournaments and play less tournaments in 2019.

“I mean, I play every month, I need to be fresh as well. I can't let stress, tiredness, tension affect me when I am playing any matches. Because you never know, how you feel after a few weeks.

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“Instead of playing eight tournaments in a row, I will look to play for a few weeks and then take a two-week break to be fresh for the next tournament. I will try to choose (wisely),” he added.