Ramkumar Ramanathan stood out with his fitness in 2018, playing 35 tournaments without any injury and the lanky Indian tennis player says going into the new season he has tried to add some more power to his serve by strengthening his upper body.
Ramkumar will open the new season in Pune at the Tata Open Maharashtra, where the organisers have awarded him and Prajnesh Guneswaran wild card entries.
"I have been working a lot on my upper body to open up my shoulders so that I can get more power on serve and also on my legs to stay longer in the point. It will be of great help when you play on clay courts," Ramkumar said on the sidelines of a TNTA event.
The 24-year-old said he is planning to cut down on number of tournaments in the new season and will consult his coaching team at Sanchez-Casal Academy in Spain.
"I am going to pick and chose the tournaments and try to give my best whenever I play. I have no regrets about 2018. I am still ranked 130 and there is a long way to go. And you never know with a match or two, you can go into the top 100 or out of it.
"All I can say is you can expect a very good effort from me the next year and hopefully I am healthy and play throughout the year," he said.
Talking about the upcoming Davis Cup tie against Italy, Ramkumar said the choice of grass gives them some advantage.
"We have a great team. It is going to be fast and low-bouncing. So we have a chance. There will be a lot of support for us," he said.
"Even against Serbia, it was a very close tie. It was a really close match. I started off well and lost the second set, a difference of few points and then it fell apart for us. But if we are all fit and play our best we can definitely upset Italy and make the breakthrough," Ramkumar added.
When his views were sought on Mahesh Bhupathi's captaincy, he said the former world number one doubles player always consults the team members and was doing a good job.
"Mahesh, he is quiet. He expects us to play well like any other captain. We always go ahead of time whenever he is at the tie. He always asks all the players on what surface to play and all these things.
"He is trying to give his best and is doing it with all his heart and out of good intentions. There is no politics and that is the first thing we as players expect. He is a doing a very good job," he added.
He sought to play down the controversy over Leander Paes (with whom he was paired in the doubles) pulling out at the last minute from the Asian Games in Indonesia in August and wished the veteran player was there.
"I mean, he is Leander. He is a good friend of mine. I have nothing against him. I wish he would have played that because it is the Asian Games. Anything could have happened. I mean we all missed him there. I mean I missed him. I was supposed to play with him. But it is how it is," Ramkumar added.