By EMILIO SANCHEZ
CEO and Founder at Academia Sánchez-Casal, Florida
Interview with Ramkumar Ramanathan, ATP world No. 135 and ASC player:
Ramkumar Ramanathan is one to watch at the Miami Open 2018. The Indian player jumped 143 spots last year in the singles ranking and is now ranked world No. 135. Also worth mentioning is his victory over world No. 6 Dominic Thiem at the Antalya Open in June 2017 (where he reached the quarterfinals), his first main draw qualification of a Masters 1000 tournament at Cincinnati Masters in August 2017, or his role as a No. 1 player at the India Davis Cup Team. However, the 23-year-old player is now facing one of his long-time aspired career goals: to compete in the Miami Open.
Ramkumar was first sent to Academia Sánchez-Casal Barcelona by the president of the Chennai Tennis Federation at the age of 14 from his hometown Chennai, India. He stayed at the academy 4 months then returned to India to play and win the U18 Nationals, at 15. Soon after, Ram started gaining confidence and playing better so ASC took a gamble and offered him a scholarship. He played all Futures, competed 35-40 weeks and in between tournaments trained at the academy.
Last year he called me at ASC Florida. He had been playing professionally for the last 2-3 years but couldn't reach the 200-ranking barrier. He asked me if we could help him accomplish his goals: reach the top 150 of the ATP ranking by the end 2017. We accepted the challenge and he's been training here since.
I recently interviewed him while he was preparing for the Miami Open.
ES: How was your debut as a junior player at ASC?
RR: I started playing tennis when I was 7 and at 14 the Chennai Tennis Federation brought me to ASC Barcelona. It was an incredible opportunity but also a big challenge to be outside of my home and my country at a very early age. In Europe everything was different; the culture, the food Eventually I came back to ASC Barcelona every year and it became my second home.
ES: You know that our 360 ASC System focuses on the 4 Pillars of tennis. Which is the most important one for you?
RR: Although physical is important, I think the mental pillar is crucial. During the last years I've learned so much about staying present in every match, fighting every point. Mental strength makes the difference; it also goes together with confidence.
ES: What are your goals for this year?
RR: When I came last year to ASC Florida, I wanted to get in the top 150, and I made it. This year, I would like to reach the top 100 by the end of the year.
ES: You've been playing at the Common Wealth Games, Cincinnati Open, Indian Wells If you had to choose to do well in one of these tournaments, which one would you take?
RR: To do well in Miami Open.
Apart from the Grand Slams the Miami Open is considered one of the biggest events in the tour. Since last year I couldn't compete there, it became one of my main goals for 2018.
ES: What does it mean to you to represent your country in the Davis Cup?
RR: To play for your country, to listen to the national anthem, it's something very special. I like to play with the crowd; they push you to give your best until the end of the match.
ES: RED (Respect, Effort and Discipline) is part of the ASC identity. What do these values mean to you?
RR: Tennis teaches you many things that will help you in your tennis career. Sacrifice, focus, stay present, stay away from your cell phone Simple things that then you can apply to your personal life.
We wish him the best of luck and lots of success in his upcoming endeavor.