Indian tennis player Ramkumar Ramanathan won his opening qualifier at the French Open on Monday against German tennis player and ninth seed (in the qualifiers) Yannick Hanfmann. It was an exceptional victory for the Indian who won it 6-3, 6-2. Ramanathan has moved on to the second round of the qualifiers where he will go up against France’s Sean Cuenin on Wednesday. While there was joy for one Indian, there was despair for another as Yuki Bhambri bid farewell to the Grand Slam after losing his first qualifier 6-3, 7-5 against Turkey’s Altug Celikbilek. The Tur took the first set with ease but the Indian fought back in the second. However, Celikbilek proved to be a bit too strong for the 29-year-old.
Ramanathan, who hails from Chennai, was the first Indian since Somdev Devvarman to reach the singles final of the ATP World Tour. The 27-year-old proved his worth on Monday and the stats paint a fine picture. Ramanathan smashed six aces, five more than Hanfmann’s one. Both committed one double fault each. On the first serve, the German had a higher win percentage with 62% compared to the Indian’s 58%, but on the second, Ramanthan held a mighty advantage 73% compared to his opponent’s 21%. When it comes to break points, the Indian scored five out of 11 and also won seven service games.
For Bhambri, however, it was a day to forget. The 29-year-old could not score a single ace in his match against Celikbilek who scored two. Bhambri did commit one less double fault than his opponent but that was never going to be a deciding factor in the match. The Indian’s win percentage on the first serve was 60% while Celikbilek recorded 70%. The Turk, however, could not match Bhambri on the second serve as they recorded 55% and 71% respectively. Bhambri could only win one out of six break points whereas his opponent won three out of five.
For tennis fans, May is the month of clay. A series of competitions ensue, all of which are played on clay, leading up to the French Open at the end. The French Open, or Roland Garros, is the annual clay court Grand Slam and is one of a kind. Until 1975, it was the only major tennis tournament that was not played on grass. It is the second of the four annual Grand Slams on a tennis calendar. The others are the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and US Open. Clay makes for an interesting surface, as it is the most unpredictable of them all. With higher bounce and lower pace, maneuvering the correct shots on this surface is more challenging than any other. It is therefore considered as the most physically taxing competition in the whole world.
As the name suggests, the clay court Grand Slam is held every year in France. In total there have been seven different venues in the past where the competition has been hosted, but the current one is the most stable one. The Stade Roland Garros in the French capital of Paris has been home to the Grand Slam since 1928, and that is where it will take place in 2022 as well, completing 94 years.