We are going to be a tough team to break: Ram
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The most striking thing Rajeev Ram remembers about his impromptu, one-off partnership with Rohan Bopanna is that the Coorgi was so easy to get used to on court that it never hit him the two were testing their first-time pairing at the season's opening Grand Slam.
Ram and Bopanna had paired up at the Australian Open 2008 through an odd bit of chance. The Indian had come to the site with Aisam Qureshi and Ram was playing with fellow American Bobby Reynolds but the rankings math was such that there was no way any other combination among the four players could qualify for a direct spot. Ram reminisces that if they had had more practice together, they could have gotten deeper in the draw at Melbourne.
This time when Ram and Bopanna form a team, the commitment is for the entire season. Ranked in the top 100 in singles as recently as some weeks back, Ram decided to take the leap of faith — give the doubles format the kind of importance he hadn't so far. Once that decision was taken, Ram approached Bopanna, who was contemplating forming a stable, long-term partnership with a younger player after his current partner Mahesh Bhupathi made his retirement plans known.
"We had known each other for years and I approached him with the idea of playing together and at that time (two months back) he needed some time to figure stuff out but he got back to me saying yeah, we should do that," Ram told The Indian Express.
While Ram, ranked 44 in doubles will get a boost partnering the Indian who consistently hovers near the top-10, for Bopanna too this partnership makes sense. With 28-year-old Ram, Bopanna can pursue his Slam dream with the same enthusiasm that he shared with Qureshi. Ram's tireless work ethic is unlike how most veterans play doubles. And after spending much of 2012 experimenting either side of the court, Bopanna can also settle in his preferred ad court as Ram is a natural deuce-courter.