The Rajeev Ram/ Wayne Odesnik match was a very memorable affair at Legg Mason Tennis Classic yesterday. The two Americans were facing off for a spot in the main draw, a huge deal for players ranked 236 (Ram) and 161 (Odesnik) in the world, but it was clear that there was more at stake. American players (though not specifically Ram as far as I know) have been very vocal about their contempt for Odesnik who received a doping suspension last year that was significantly reduced after cooperating with the ITF.
I didn't know what to expect going into the match but it was incredibly tense. The overwhelming crowd support was on the side of Ram, however Odesnik had a group of very vocal supporters as well. Both sides were practically competing with each other, and I was truly surprised that a fight didn't break out in the stands.
Odesnik looked fit but tight, and was unable to change gears when his game wasn't generating the power he needed. He clearly felt he had something to prove and the pressure got to him. Meanwhile Ram, (who's on an upswing after making the quarters of Atlanta last week) stayed calm and swung freely, somehow staying removed from the tension surrounding the match. It was an impressive display of serve and volley tennis, and even more impressive was his level-headedness, especially at the end of the match which culminated with a frosty hand-shake at the net. (See above video).
Rajeev Ram will play Matthew Edben in the first round.
Highlights from the match below.
Video by @linzsports