Rajeev Ram marked his memorable year by returning home to his Carmel Racquet Club roots.
The 2002 Carmel High School graduate recently unveiled the new Ram Family Championship Court banner, which updated his accomplishments from 2022. Ram took questions from fans and signed autographs at the event.
The court, which was dedicated in 2021, is named for Ram and his parents: his mother, Sushma, and father, Raghav, who died in April 2019.
Ram said this year was probably the most special of his career. On Oct. 3, at 38, he became the oldest first-time No. 1 in the ATP Doubles rankings history. Ram, who had been ranked No. 2 since April, switched places with his doubles partner Joe Salisbury, from Great Britain. The rankings are based on points earned on a rotating 52-week calendar.
“Getting to No. 1 was pretty neat,” Ram said. “Hopefully, I’ll get back there again. When you start playing, it feels so far away. It feels like you’ve got to have such good results for such a long time, you don’t know if I was actually going to get there. To be No. 1 in anything is pretty special.”
Ram held the No. 1 ranking for five weeks before dropping to No. 3 at year’s end.
Ram and Salisbury had repeated as U.S. Open doubles champions in September. They capped the year by winning the Nitto ATP Tour World Doubles.
“The Tour finals is a title that had got away from me a couple times,” he said. “To win it undefeated was a great way to end our year. It was a big one that we checked off the list.”
Ram had lost in the Tour doubles championship in 2016 with Raven Klaasen and 2021 with Salisbury.
Joining Ram, who moved to Carmel when he was 12, for the ceremony was Carmel Racquet Club pro Mark Woldmoe, his coach from ages 12 to 16.
“I told him when he was 15 or 16 that he had the potential to be a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon in singles,” Woldmoe said. “I think that was the carrot that got him believing he was something special. I knew his hands were special. I tried to talk him into playing doubles only 10 years ago.”
The 6-foot-4 Ram switched to only playing doubles in 2017. He has two singles titles on the ATP Tour, both on the grass courts at Newport, R.I., in 2009 and 2015.
Besides the two U.S. Open titles, Ram has three other Grand Slam titles. The other three were in the Australian Open, where he won the mixed doubles title with Barbora Krejcikova in 2019 and 2021 and the men’s doubles with Salisbury in 2020.
Ram and Salisbury, who began playing together in 2019, also were ranked No. 1 as a team during the year. They also won ATP Masters 1000 tournaments in Cincinnati and Monte Carlo this year.
“I plan to play until I can’t anymore,” Ram said. “We still have goals we want to achieve. We had some tough times in the middle two Grand Slams (French Open, Wimbledon). We are really gearing up for next year and, hopefully, we can keep momentum.”