Ramkumar Ramanathanin Antalya in June 2017. The Austrian, World No. 8 then, was fresh from playing the semifinals in Roland Garros. Thiem went on to make the pre-quarterfinals of Wimbledon after losing to Ramkumar on grass in Turkey.
When Thiem won the US Open in New York on Sunday, the 25-year-old Ramkumar was thrilled. “I was extremely happy for Thiem. Congratulations to Thiem’s team on an amazing job,” said Ramkumar.
Getting ready to fly to Paris for the Roland Garros qualifying event, after over five months at home in Chennai, Ramkumar appreciated the exemplary effort by the 27-year-old Thiem. “He is full of grit. He really deserved the title. He is a wonderful human being,” gushed Ramkumar.
Thiem was ready when tennis on the professional circuit resumed, said Ramkumar. “I heard that Thiem had played 43 exhibition matches before the Tour resumed. Even though they were exhibition matches, I feel it gave him the edge, as match play is vital.”
Ramkumar has been working on his fitness for the last five months. “I have been doing a mix of speed, strength and agility training with our core class on zoom. I have been practising in the morning with Abhinav Sanjeev Shanmugam, Manish Sureshkumar and Prithvi Sekhar at the Nungambakkam Stadium for the last few weeks, thanks to the special permission from the Tamil Nadu government,” he said.