Ramkumar Ramanathan was unable to avenge his defeat to Steve Johnson in the 2018 Newport ATP final, losing to the world number 81, 6-4 7-6. Johnson served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, but Ramanathan battled hard to break serve before holding his own serve easily for 6-5. But after Johnson evened the match at 6–6, he took control, winning the tiebreak 7-0. 
Ramanathan is up to 202 in the live rankings after his run through qualifiers this weekend, and spoke to Ashish Malhotra for ITD after today’s match.

Photo – Matthew Reiter

Q.  Talk about what it was like the last few days. You showed up as an alternate, had a couple of good wins. What has it been like the last few days?

RAMKUMAR RAMANATHAN: Yeah, got in from Lexington. I flew in on Saturday morning. As alternate, took my chance. I got in (indiscernible) because there was no special exempts in the main draw.

I was actually, you know, wanting to play this tournament. I played it a few years back. I qualified. I had a few good wins here. So, you know, Washington’s always been a good place to play for me.

So I took a chance this year and I think it worked out pretty well. I had two good wins with two tough opponents. Even today was a very close match with Steve Johnson. I just have to keep working hard.

Q.  Is there anything you felt like you could have done differently today or just a few points here and there?

RAMKUMAR RAMANATHAN: You know, it goes to just a matter of few points here and there. Maybe I could have won more points on my second serves. And also I missed an easy overhead in one of the games in the second set. I thought the first point in the tiebreak was a very, very important point which could have gone either way.

Q.  You look like you’ve been having a lot of fun out there the last couple days. You’ve been laughing after some long points, chatting with the crowd a little bit. Is that something you’ve been consciously doing?

RAMKUMAR RAMANATHAN: Not consciously, for sure (smiling). I mean, there’s a lot of fun points. A lot of things happening on court. I think the best way is to just laugh it out and enjoy the match. I’m here at an ATP 500. It’s always a good feeling to play on this level, compete with the top players, the best of players.

I know I’m there, I’m close. I just have to keep working on the final aspects. I think I can do well in the coming season.

Ramkumar has been a crowd favorite in Washington this week

Q.  After 2-0 in the tiebreak, there were some fans who were getting riled up for Steve. Seemed like that might have bothered you a bit.

RAMKUMAR RAMANATHAN: It’s all part of tennis. When you win, you don’t say nothing. When you lose, you catch this.

Q.  One weird point in the tiebreak. Did the ball go out but you threw your racquet at it?

RAMKUMAR RAMANATHAN: What? I didn’t throw…

Q.  You tried to throw your racquet at the ball.

RAMKUMAR RAMANATHAN: I tried to pick it, but I didn’t.

Q.  Did the ball go out?

RAMKUMAR RAMANATHAN: The ball was going in, but I tried to take the ball and I missed the ball.

Q.  You had a heartbreaking loss in Wimbledon. How long did that affect you or you bounced back pretty quickly?

RAMKUMAR RAMANATHAN: I mean, I think it didn’t affect me so much because I had a few good wins the last couple of weeks. It only gave me confidence. I mean, it was tough to lose 11-9 in the fifth, but that’s how it goes. It’s a matter of few points, like I said.

I know I’ve been working hard. I’ve been putting in the work. Been serving a lot every day. The coaches have been helping me, Chandra, Emilio. I’m always in touch with them. I think I’m doing the right things to get better. I’m giving my best every day. That’s all I can do.

Q.  What’s the plan for the next couple of weeks?

RAMKUMAR RAMANATHAN: I’m not sure yet. It’s too early.

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