In commemoration of Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, American doubles standout Rajeev Ram, who was born to Indian immigrants, wrote an essay about his proud roots as an Asian-American.
The 37-year-old discussed how much tennis connects people from many backgrounds and cultures, condemned hate crimes and more.
Ram, who won two ATP Tour singles titles and has lifted 20 tour-level doubles trophies, currently plays full-time doubles alongside Joe Salisbury. They have qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals in each of the past two seasons.
Read this excerpt below from Ram’s essay penned for USTA.com.
Sport, and specifically tennis, is an amazing thing. It creates the most pressure-packed, drama-filled, real-life reality-TV situations possible. Players playing as individuals, with a partner of same or opposite gender, or on a team vying for a common goal and asking their bodies and minds to continue to stretch seemingly unstretchable limits. But more, sport also has a very special power to unite, and grants a very special privilege to those who play it as its highest level to utilise their respective sport as a platform for doing good… For speaking out and reaching out…. To touch and enhance lives.
As a professional athlete, that is both a unique opportunity and an awesome responsibility.
May is AAPI Heritage month, and being a member of this group and seeing daily all the injustice going on, I feel it’s so important to stand up and speak out against this injustice. I am a proud Asian-American and I believe we are all created equal and deserve to be treated that way regardless of race. Being specifically of south Asian descent, unfortunately hate crimes are nothing new for people of my heritage. The reality is that these people are some of the most selfless, good-natured individuals who have built their lives from the ground up in a completely foreign culture all with the benefit of their future generations in mind. I consider myself so fortunate because I was able to see this sacrifice and perseverance first hand from my parents as well as the constant reminder of how important it is to be a nice, kind and tolerant person.
Through my experiences in this great game, I’ve seen time and again how the lines of a tennis court can so perfectly connect people from all countries and races and beliefs. I consider myself very lucky to have been playing tennis for as long as I can remember and for the last 15-plus years to do it as my profession.
Visit USTA.com to read Ram’s full essay.