Marin Cilic all praise for Ramkumar Ramanathan after Tata Open match

Marin Cilic defeated Ramkumar Ramanathan in their second round encounter at the Tata Open tournament in Pune on Wednesday, but was full of praise for his Indian opponent. He was less complimentary about the tennis balls being used in the tournament.

tennis Updated: Jan 04, 2018 09:16 IST
B Shrikant
B Shrikant
Hindustan Times, Pune
Marin Cilic,Ramkumar Ramanathan,Tata Open
Marin Cilic had some nice things to say about India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan, whom he defeated in the second round of the Tata Open Maharashtra tennis tournament on Wednesday in Pune. (REUTERS)

The Yonex tennis balls that are being used at the Tata Open Maharashtra here came under spotlight with ousted champion Roberto Bautista Agut totally unhappy with them while top seed Marin Cilic just passing them off as okay.

Bautista Agut blamed his defeat on the balls that he said he has never played with. “I have never played with these Yonex balls in 29 years of my life. They are very different from those that are used on the circuit. I did not like them at all,” Bautista Agut said after his defeat to Frenchman Giles Simon in the second round.

Cilic, who played India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan in his first outing here as he got a bye in the first round, was a bit diplomatic when talking about the balls.”The new balls are fast but after 3-4 games they become heavy and slow. But the conditions are same for everyone,” the 2014 US Open champion.

Cilic was happy with his overall performance as he gears up for the year’s first Grand Slam, though he said the conditions were a bit difficult for him.

“ It was quiet difficult to start. It was my first appearance of the new season still I am happy the way things went.

“Ram came out with aggressive mentality and served well. Things got pretty well. I almost controlled the match except few occasion everything went right,” said the World no 6.

With the sizeable crowd rooting for Ramkumar, Cilic said he had to be careful on crucial points. “He was playing well and with the crowd behind him, I had to be careful not to give him too many chances. In the end I managed to do that quite well,” said the giant Croat.

Cilic had some good words to say about Ramkumar’s performance. “Ram started very aggressively and served well. His forehand was also good though his backhand did not work well today. I have seen play last year and the year before amd knew he could be dangerous with the crowd behind hi. So I was very careful,” said Cilic.

On his part, Ramkumar was happy that he gave his best in his first game against a Grand Slam champion.” I am happy that I gave my best against such a player. I had spoken to my coach (Emio Sanchez) before the match and he said you do have a chance against him,” said Ramkumar.

The Indian will take lot of positives from his performance today as he hopes to play the Australian Open this year.

First Published: Jan 04, 2018 09:16 IST