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Athletic Department Tennis - Boys Varsity Carmel

CHS Alum Rajeev Ram prepares for Wimbledon & Olympics

By Jim Inskeep | Jul 3, 2024 2:22 PM

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By RICHIE HALL | Hamilton County Reporter sports@readthereporter.com When Rajeev Ram left Tokyo three years ago, he thought it could be the last time participating for the United States in the Olympics. But it turns out, the Carmel tennis star will get one more chance. Ram is one of 11 players that made the United States Olympic team. Ram and his fellow Americans will be playing in the 2024 Paris Olympics when they begin later this month. Not only is it a chance to compete for another medal – Ram teamed with Venus Williams to take the silver medal in mixed doubles at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games – but it means he will get to have a proper Olympic experience. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were delayed one year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and were conducted without fans – “not quite the Olympic experience that you hoped for,” said Ram. He said he is “pretty excited” and grateful to be able to enjoy a normal Olympic situation. The six-time Grand Slam doubles champion will be partnered with Austin Krajicek in the men’s doubles division. Like Ram, Krajicek has been ranked No. 1 in the ATP Tour world doubles rankings, and has also won a Grand Slam title, taking the 2023 French Open with Croatian Ivan Dodig. “We played Davis Cup doubles together, so we played quite a few times,” said Ram. They played together at an event in Houston earlier in the spring as a prep event and will play at an event in Germany right before the Olympics. Ram spoke to the Reporter from the United Kingdom, where he was playing another tournament to prepare for Wimbledon, which begins this week. That is the third of four big events taking place in a short span of time not just for Ram, but also for the entire tennis community. Ram and his regular partner, the United Kingdom’s Joe Salisbury, reached the quarterfinals of the French Open, and are presently competing in Wimbledon. Then there’s the Olympics, where the tennis event takes place from July 27 to Aug. 4, after which there’s a slight break before the U.S. Open begins at the end of August. “That’s something we looked at the very beginning of the year,” said Ram. “We knew this was going to be the meat of our season.” Ram said he and Salisbury are trying their best to make sure they are physically healthy and mentally prepared for the challenge. Ram won’t be the only Carmel resident at the Olympics, of course. The city will have three swimmers, Drew Kibler, Aaron Shackell and Alex Shackell competing in swimming. Their success after the U.S. Olympic trials has gotten attention from all over the world. “I think it’s great,” said Ram. “The more Carmel people that we can have in such a prideful event is awesome. I think it’s really cool. I hope to get to meet them. I hope I can make that connection.” Once the Olympics are done, Ram and Salisbury will be together again and trying for a fourth consecutive U.S. Open men’s doubles title. The duo won their first Open crown in 2021, coming back to win in three sets. After a tough straight-set victory in 2022, Ram and Salisbury were triumphant again in 2023, getting another comeback win over Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden. Ram and Salisbury became the first team to win three consecutive U.S. men’s doubles titles since Americans Maurice McLoughlin and Tom Bundy did so from 1912 to 1914, well before tennis’ Open Era began. Ram called the feat “incredible,” saying the Open is where he’s played his best tennis. “It’s been amazing,” he said. “That’s my home Grand Slam. Even one Grand Slam, you’ll take that.” After the U.S. Open is done, Ram said that it will be time for “a little bit of rest afterwards,” but he is hopeful that he and Salisbury can return to the year-end ATP Finals tournament in Turin, Italy. Ram turned 40 this year, but he is still ranked in the top 10 in the world doubles rankings. He said he isn’t “going to put a time limit” on how much longer he will be playing, but said he’s still capable of working on his tennis and improving. “It’s a balance,” said Ram. “As long as the fun parts override the not-fun parts, I’ll still do this.”