World No. 2 Rajeev Ram is through to the quarters at Roland Garros with his partner Joe Salisbury. After the win in pre-quarters, Rajeev took time to speak to Indian Tennis Daily on his season so far.
Photos from R3 are also available down below
This is your fourth quarter finals at the French Open. Thoughts on the run so far.
As we came in to this tournament, we had lost three matches in a row, which hasn’t happened for us for some time. So we were kind of unsure on how it was going to go but I think we’ve gotten better with every match.
Today was a really good performance for us against a tough team, so happy with where we are.
What was the game plan coming in against M Cressy and F Lopez?
We had to make sure we did a good job, taking care of our own serves. As you know obviously – if you lose serve once, it could kind of be the set because like you said, both of the guys serve really well, so it’s about that.
And then on the return just hustling, doing whatever we can to make them play a few extra balls and trying to realize when we had some momentum in – to capitalize on that. It was a lot about making sure we held on to our serves to.
Your views on the season so far
It has been a little up and down. We lost in the semis in Australia and it was a match we could have won. Then we did ok in Miami and Indian Wells – nothing great. We had a great result in Monte Carlo, it was quite satisfying. And then, straight away – we both had little injuries and didn’t didn’t perform very well in Madrid and Rome.
So it’s been kind of funny. It’s been a little up and down but, you know, we are doing our best and hopefully, we can keep playing well here.
We have the ATP Challenger coming up in Indiana which is run by your foundation. Can you share a bit more detail?
Yeah, sure. It’s been one of my dreams to have a pro tournament in Indianapolis for many years. We had an ATP Tour event but it unfortunately stopped in 2009 and it’s been one of my goals and one of the goals of our foundation to bring pro tennis back to the city in some capacity, and there was a week open on the calendar.
So we`ve been discussing it in March, if it was possible, and it’s not been easy for sure. There’s been some issues and it has been learning experience in terms of what is required to actually hold a pro tennis event, but I think we’ve got the logistics of it sorted out at least.
It will be the 2nd challenger in the US in the summer after Wimbledon’s over and really looking forward to it. I hope it can be a long-term thing but I think we’re gonna take it year by year.
Nishesh has had a really good year. You had given insight into Nishesh to us about a couple of years ago.
I’m so proud of what Nishesh has been doing. He has a really tough couple of years with injuries. He had gone through a couple of knee surgeries. I didn’t really know what was going to happen as he makes a return. I mean I don’t think I expected these kind of results happening so quickly.
He did really great in South America and then he as you know, won the tournament in Italy and has become the top five in the world. To see what Nishesh has achieved after witnessing what he has gone through for a couple of years – I am really proud. I always knew he was that good but I just didn’t know if it would be possible to happen this quickly because of his injury.
So it’s so cool. I just saw him before my match in the locker room and it’s pretty cool to see him be at these big tournaments. I’m really happy that I’m still playing so that we can share these experiences.
Thoughts on Coach Bryan Smith
Bryan has had six players being USA No. 1 over the course of his coaching career. It does not happen by accident. That’s special, there’s something that good. I think his biggest asset is that he is able to communicate to each player sort of how they listen and based on how they learn the best. So he’s able to get the best out of the students.
He’s had some great kids come through which is a lot because of what he’s been to do for all of us and he’s somebody that I consider to be my closest friend. It’s not just me. There’s been generations between us and now Nishesh is doing so well as well – that he gets to keep seeing his players do so well, it’s pretty awesome for me to see that.