Leander tip to strength training – Ramkumar on right track

Ramkumar Ramanathan is aiming to be available for higher level tournaments with increased fitness levels.

A specific tip from Leander Paes helped Ramanathan better his game while he was in Newport.   -  FILE PHOTO/V. SREENIVASA MURTHY

 

Ramkumar Ramanathan has been a standout tennis player this year. The 24-year-old reached his first ATP tour final in the Hall of Fame Open in Newport (US) and earned a career-high ATP singles ranking of 111 (presently ranked 133).

In a chat with Sportstar at the Quantum Leap Performance — a high performance sports training centre here — on Wednesday, he highlighted the takeaways.

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“I played a lot of tournaments. That’s a lot of confidence for me. I beat (Jiri) Veseley (in the Shenzhen Open), (Vasek) Pospisil (in the Hall of Fame Open).

“You learn a lot from those matches. And I feel, the more you play, the more you learn; the more matches you play, the more experience you get. That’s no secret. I think I’ve done the right thing, playing a lot of tournaments,” said Ramanathan, who will begin strength conditioning at the QLP premises before the start of next season.

Fitness first

Ramanathan is aware of the areas that need polish, fitness being one. “I have to work a lot on my fitness. I really feel I need this (strength conditioning). Up to this point, I’ve only done it with the group in the academy (Sanchez-Casal Tennis Academy, Barcelona). I’ve been travelling with a tennis coach, but I’ve not had a dedicated fitness trainer.

“Ramji (Srinivasan) sir has been helping me (at the centre). With this support, I feel I can improve on the small things. Like, today (Wednesday), we were trying to work on the glutes (muscles). These small things can make a big difference, you know. I think I need to take fitness and recovery more serious.

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“Indian players, in general, need to really focus on fitness. Europeans are naturally fit. They are able to run more. The Indians can play well, but the one area we need to focus on, is fitness.

“This year, I feel I’ve played a little bit more than I had to play. But I learnt from it. For 2019, I want to play three-four weeks, take two-three weeks off. I think I’m going to break it up more and play more periodically,” he said.

At the moment, Ramanathan will need to plan the itinerary.

“My goal is going to be the higher-level tournaments. I just have to be healthy, play through the year, and hopefully try to finish somewhere around 70 (in the ATP singles rankings). Anything below that is a bonus.”

A highlight lesson

Ramanathan also worked with the legendary Leander Paes and his trainer, Sanjay Singh. A specific tip from Paes cleared a bit of blur.

“It was windy in Newport. So, one day I was just serving, serving, and serving (practice). Leander walks past me, and he’s like: ‘Use a wide serve from the deuce court, and use a ‘T’ on that. And then, go to the net.’

“I was hitting with (Ivo) Karlovic the next day. Leander was also there. And I felt that something was different. I started winning quick points, free points. Then I tried to do it in the match a few days later. Just because he said it that day, it kept playing in my mind automatically.”

Leander Paes (left) and Ramkumar Ramanathan at a practice session at KSLTA in Bengaluru.   -  FILE PHOTO/V. SREENIVASA MURTHY