Ramkumar sees the big picture, thrilled to play Spain

It has been a non-stop exercise for the 21-year-old Ramkumar Ramanathan after he rushed from the last Davis Cup tie, to the US. He played a series of tournaments there, after having a good start when he made the semifinals in the Binghamton Challenger in New York.

Ramkumar Ramanathan Davis Cup

"It is a good opportunity for us to play the best for the country. Playing the matches in the evening in front of a lot of people is going to be interesting," said Ramkumar, on India's Davis Cup tie against Spain.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Having realised one dream of representing the country in Davis Cup, Ramkumar Ramanathan is now excited about getting a chance to play a world class Spain in the Davis Cup World Group play-off tie in the Capital from September 16 to 18.

"It is a good opportunity for us to play the best for the country. Playing the matches in the evening in front of a lot of people is going to be interesting. I will train as much as I can, and play the best possible game", said Ramkumar, who returned home on Saturday.

"There is pressure, no matter who you play. The respect is there, but you always feel that you have a chance if you play your best. The objective is to be in good shape for three days without any problem'', said Ramkumar.

It has been a non-stop exercise for the 21-year-old Ramkumar after he rushed from the last Davis Cup tie, to the US. He played a series of tournaments there, after having a good start when he made the semifinals in the Binghamton Challenger in New York.

"The results were not great, but I kept playing the highest level of tournaments that I could get in with my rank, even though the results were not good. When I lost first round, I got to train for about four days with very good players, before I moved to the next event. I have many things to improve, and am working a lot on them’’, recalled the 202nd ranked Ramkumar, who got to hit with a former top-5 player, Tommy Robredo, in Genova.

"Robredo was coming back from an injury. I knew his coach, and got to train with him. There were a lot of good players with whom I had training. I know that I am close to them. It is a matter of time before I get the breakthrough’’, said Ramkumar, who felt that he could have at least taken a set off Denis Istomin in the last tournament in Genova.

The wiry lad from Chennai said that his coaches were all happy for him that he was getting to play Rafael Nadal and company at this stage of his career in Davis Cup.

Being practical, Ramkumar said that it did not make any difference whether the team played Nadal on grass, clay or hard court. He was impressed by the attitude of the Spanish team to field the very best, which showed their intent to go all the way to the trophy, which they have won five times.

"At the highest level, there are no free points. They are taking each match seriously. They want to win’’, said Ramkumar.

Recalling his own tough outing in the US Open qualifying event, Ramkumar praised Saketh Myneni for a "fantastic performance" in qualifying for the main draw and playing a good match before losing from being a matchpoint up in the fifth set, in the first round against Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic.

The 28-year-old Saketh, ranked 143 in the world, had opted to rest and train for the Davis Cup tie, rather than compete in the Challenger in Shanghai, after the US Open.

"The evening matches are going to be interesting. Hope we have a great atmosphere and play our best’’, said Ramkumar.