The reigning National tennis champion V.M. Ranjeet finds his international career graph on a high.

The 23-year-old Chennai lad had a memorable time last fortnight as he made the semifinals and final of two $15,000 ITF men’s Futures tournaments in Teheran, Iran.

Playing on his favourite surface, clay, Ranjeet quickly adjusted to the slow and high bounce, after having played continuously on the hard-courts for so long.

“I like playing on clay. Ironically, it was a little hard to adjust initially, but I played good and beat a lot of quality players. I kept getting better with every match”, says Ranjeet, on returning to the hard-court tournament in Delhi.

Good harvest

The two weeks of fruitful exercise helped Ranjeet collect 24 ATP points. His rank has gone up to a career-best 649 even though the 17 points from the final last week are yet to get into his account for tabulation by the ATP.

It was easily the best fare among a big group of Indians, as P.C. Vignesh, Vijayant Malik, Sriram Balaji, Ronak Manuja, Abhijeet Tiwari, Vikram Reddy and Yannick Nelord had also played those two tournaments.

Ranjeet could have done better but for meeting a player on a high, Haithem Abid of Tunisia, who won both the tournaments in Iran. “Abid was easily the best player, and I lost to him both the times”, recalls Ranjeet.

“The whole year has been good for me. I have been making a lot of quarterfinals, and made the semifinals in Kuwait” says Ranjeet.

Ranjeet has won the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association’s T.K. Ramanathan Award (named after Ramanathan Krishnan’s father) for the Player of the Year for the last two seasons and with the run being so good, he may actually have a hat-trick of those titles.

Focussed on the game

“I am not thinking about the awards. I am working hard in the camps for the Commonwealth Games and focusing on my tennis during the tournaments. It has been great to train with so many good players, and the coaches have been driving us to our best”, says Ranjeet.

In between the camps and tournaments, Ranjeet has also managed to squeeze time out to assist the Oldenburg Club in Germany for ten days. He won two matches in three sets much to the delight of his teammates, and has an undefeated record for the club for the last three years.

In this hectic season, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) has not bothered to put the National hard-court tennis on the calendar. Instead, the National grass-court championship is set to be revived, after two years, in Kolkata.

Likes playing on grass

“I like playing on grass also. I lost to Vishnu Vardhan in the semifinals last time and he went on to win the title. I am surprised that nobody is able to hold the National hard-court championship. Chennai has the best facility and they can easily do it”, observes Ranjeet.

The genial Ranjeet, who sports a smile most of the time, carries a big collection of movies and music to relax.

“I mostly watch comedy movies on my laptop. There is hardly time for anything when you are training or playing tournaments. It is important to keep the mind light, and that is why I like comedies”, he explains.

Ranjeet has the clarity of thought and simplicity of approach to scale further heights. It is perhaps the beginning of a long climb.

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