Ramanathan: 'I always looked up to Roger Federer, he inspires me'

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Ramanathan: 'I always looked up to Roger Federer, he inspires me'

The Chennai native Ramkumar Ramanathan was on the verge of entering the top-100 after reaching the final of the ATP event in Newport last year, never finding that form again and dropping down through the list. By the end of the season, Ramkumar grabbed one ATP win in Shenzhen as a qualifier but that was all we saw from him until home ATP 250 event in Pune this January.

There, Ramanathan defeated Marcel Granollers before losing a tight encounter to Malek Jaziri, scoring only one more triumph in the ATP tournaments in the rest of 2019 and struggling to find the form on the Challenger level as well to finish outside the top-170.

Ramanathan was the semi-finalist three times, unable to make an extra step and fight for the titles that would have improved his ranking position. Ramkumar has been preparing for the new season, eager to play at home ATP 250 event in Pune in February despite the change in the calendar, moving from the first week of the season to the fifth.

Speaking about his idols, Ramanathan mentioned Roger Federer as the one he looked up to while growing up, together with Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupati and other top-ranked Indian players from the last 15 years. "My dad introduced me to tennis and I'm always thankful to him.

It has been a long journey for me so far and I still hope I can do what I like the most and enjoy my time on the court. I always looked up to Roger Federer, he inspires me the way he plays. I also admire the experienced Indian players like Paes and Bhupati; they are still fun to watch.

Instead of changing my game style, I have been working on improving my shots, I believe that's the way to reach higher ranking positions. During tournaments, I'm trying to stick to my pre-match and post-match rituals, eating in the same restaurant and things like that.

The change of place in the calendar doesn't matter to us, Tata Open is the only Indian ATP tournament and the home players would be there whichever month it is."