Faith an important ingredient in Australian Open winner Rajeev Ram’s DNA

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Tennis – Australian Open – Men’s Doubles Final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – February 2, 2020 Rajeev Ram of the U.S. and Britain’s Joe Salisbury celebrate with the trophy after winning the final against Australia’s Max Purcell and Luke Saville REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

The American tennis player Rajeev Ram who just won the Australian Open Men’s Doubles cup Feb. 2, 2020, has relied heavily on his faith to drive his racket on the court. That faith may have helped his equanimity on court so soon after his father’s death.

His Facebook fan page posts are indicative of his joy.

“Wow. We are over the moon Down Under. Thank you all for cheering us throughout this event! Ecstatic to win my 2nd major title and first Grand Slam men’s doubles champion. #ao2020 #ausopen,” he exclaimed.

And again, “In case you missed it, Joe and I did a thing. 🏆 What a couple weeks. Grateful for you friends and fans around the world. #ausopen #ao2020

In 2016, when he won the silver medal at the Olympics, partnering with none other than Venus Williams in the mixed doubles, he gave interviews that spoke of how Hinduism, had helped his play on the court. He credited his parents with keeping him involved in the Hindu community growing up.

Sushma and late Raghav Ram, the parents of tennis player Rajeev Ram who won the Australian Open Men’s Doubles Cup Feb. 2, 2020. (Photo: Rajeev Ram’s non-profit EntouRajforkids Facebook)

Now he has only one parent left to witness his victory, and he misses his Dad, whose ashes he took to India less than two months ago.

“Part of the Hindu religion teaches, more so than anything else, your control of your mind – your self-control, basically,” Ram is quoted saying in The Washington Post article, after his win. And he meant the mastery of his body, not his mind, the report said.

“Obviously, your body’s going to do what your mind tells it to do. If you can have that inner control, a sense of peace, your body’s going to follow,” Ram said then.

Ram, who is ranked 24, in world doubles was to partner with India’s top player Sania Mirza coming back to court after a two-year maternity hiatus. But that was not to be as Mirza suffered an injury and stepped down.

The two players have known each other since childhood, tennisworldusa.org reported Dec. 15, 2019. The two had played the juniors together and she is a couple years younger than him, Ram said in the interview. He also said he has been closely associated with Indian players through his life in the tennis circuit, and it has helped his game. “One of the things I have enjoyed and felt privileged to experience as a tennis player is this constant exchange I’ve had with Indian players,” tennisworldusa.org quotes him saying.

Ram, who calls Indianapolis, Indiana his home, is married to Pakistani-American Zainab Saqib, with whom the Hindu-American tennis player says he has “so many similarities.”

“… we’re not very different culturally. That really works for me, you don’t really need to make an effort.” His wife is from a large family, Ram notes. “I enjoy their company. Similarities are great in relationships, they make everything easier,” he told tennisworldusa.org.

President Barack Obama extends his arm to shake hands with Indian-American tennis player Rajeev Ram at a sporting event. (Photo: Rajiv Ram Instagram@rajeevram318. Photo by alexchantennis)

Born in Engelwood, Colorado to Indian immigrants from Bangalore Sushma and Raghav Ram, Rajeev Ram  35, who measure 6 feet 4 inches according to teamusa.org, turned pro in 2004.

According to his Facebook account, “When Ram isn’t on the tennis court, he enjoys playing golf and table tennis, watching movies (“Good Will Hunting” is one of his favorites) and hanging out with friends. Scotty’s Brewhouse is his favorite place to go when he’s back home in Indianapolis.”

His biography on Teamusa.org says Ram began playing tennis at the age of 4. He represented his high school (Carmel High School), winning the state singles championship; He also represented the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, from where he got his Bachelor’s degree in 2006. While there, he led his team to an NCAA title. His favorite surface is grass.

Ram started a non-profit EntouRaj For Kids (entourageforkids.org) in the Indianapolis area. The organization gives out tennis grants and college scholarships to young players. It also hosts exhibition matches featuring Rajeev and other pros to raise money.

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