Andy Ram is an Israeli professional tennis player. He is primarily a doubles player. He is the first Israeli tennis player to win a seniors Grand Slam event. He first won the mixed doubles title at the 2006 Wimbledon Championships, together with Vera Zvonareva. He then won the mixed doubles title at the 2007 French Open with Nathalie Dechy, and the men's doubles title at the 2008 Australian Open with Jonathan Erlich. Ram attained his highest doubles ranking of World No. 5 in July 2008. He reached 36 doubles finals and won 20 of them through 2013, mostly with partner Jonathan Erlich; together, they are known in Israel as "AndiYoni". His Davis Cup doubles record, as of 2013, was 17-7. In May 2014, he announced his retirement, to take effect after Israel's Davis Cup tie in September.
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Hi everyone, I'm Andy Ram.
I'm new to Reddit and very excited to answer your questions. I'll be around for 1-2 hours starting at 10AM EST, 5PM IST.
Twitter Verification: https://twitter.com/theandyram/status/610061204837560320
Alright! Let's get this started.
[Update] Thanks so much guys. It's been fun! Off to eat dinner with my family. See you here again soon!
What is the last program you binge watched?
I don't watch much TV. The last series I watched was Entourage. That's how you know I'm not kidding.
Hi Andy! :) Whose your current favourite male tennis player in the top 10?
I grew up with Federer. I've been playing with him since I was a junior player. I'm also good friends with Djokovic. It's tough to choose between them, so I'll choose Nadal.
Hi Andy! What was your favorite event to win? Wimbledon? French Open? Why?
The boring answer is that each Grand Slam was a special moment in my career. The first one at Wimbledon in 2006 was special because it was the first. The 2007 French Open was special because it was a win on my worst surface - clay - and because I played it with a French woman, Nathalie Dechy, so we had the crowd's support.
But, really, my favorite was the 2008 Australian Open because I played it with my long-time partner Jonathan Erlich and the second after we won, the President and Prime Minister called us. When we got back to Israel, there were 200 reporters waiting for us - it was the biggest press conference I ever had. That was the day that we changed from being just another team on tour to being one of the top teams.
For those interested, Andy Ram / Yoni Erlich beat Federer / Wawrinka in London 2012: the moment.
Thanks for posting this. First time I saw it from the audience.
What happens to used shoes? Hypothetically, where would Federer get rid of his shoes? I'm asking for a friend.
We leave them in the locker room. I honestly don't know what happens to them but I hope they're going to a good place.
Hi Andy! It's great to see a tennis player doing an AMA. My questions:
How do you see technology changing tennis? We've seen a couple big names, like sony, entering the 'trackables' market with their sensor. Your pulse play has a similar concept. Do you think this 'digitalization' will affect pro players? Will we see real-time stats of say, Nadal's spin rate, power, etc, with live tv coverage?
Do you see tennis integrating any other technology? An idea I've had is that they should run software on video feeds to emphasise the ball more, to make it more viewer friendly on tv. The balls could be painted with a photo sensitive pigment that really lights up on screen, making it appear larger, or really bright, but looks normal otherwise.
Another idea is to line major center courts with an array of say 50-100 GoPro cameras to create real time matrix-like 3D angle swinging. It could be interesting to track the ball in this way, or for replays.
Hawkeye should run real time and immediately call out balls, eliminating the need for line judges.
Do you see technology significantly affecting tennis in these ways?
Yes, but it will take decades. It will take a lot of testing, but I'm sure in the far future it will definitely be a part of the game.
I believe technology is missing in tennis. It's very difficult to make changes in rules & technology to traditional, classical sports.
I actually think the amateur world needs technology more than professionals. Professionals already have those tools in some way even if all the potential of technology hasn't been reached yet. There's a much bigger gap for amateurs.
How do you feel about polyester strings, and do many doubles players use them?
Most of the singles and doubles players are using the Luxilon strings. They're the best strings out there. I remember Agassi once saying that either all the players should play with Luxilon or they should take them out of the tour. Personally, I play with half Gut and half Luxilon.
Hi, Andy! Thanks for doing this AMA! What is your favorite tournament and favorite place that you've traveled to? Also, how much equipment would you go through in a tournament, and is it different for clay court tournaments (it seems like the clay always stains players' shoes and socks, but their shoes usually look new every match)?
Probably Australia. Melbourne and Sydney are two of my favorite cities. The people are very friendly. I like the beaches. I just really love the relaxed atmosphere of the country.
To tournaments, I traveled with 3 bags: 2 bags of clothing and 1 bag of rackets, strings, and equipment. It's not different for clay tournaments.
Singles tennis players change shoes every 3-4 days. That's why they stay white. Doubles players use the same shoes for 7-10 days. Most of the time, my sponsors gave me shoes and each player has his or her own sponsor, so fresh shoes is never a problem.
It's cool to see a fellow tennis player doing a AmA! I was 1st singles on my high school team, but I'm not good enough to move on to college tennis. I do look forward to playing recreational though! Do you play much now that you're retired? If so, how much?
I don't play much. I'm trying to play once a week with friends or kids who are trying to become professionals one day.
These days, I might lose playing you.
I hope you dont sound offended but do you come from a rich (or at least above average) household? I was a decent school tennis player but gave up due to the time and cost needed for training, events, equipments, etc.
In my mind, sports is something you can only do if you have the time and money
I didn't come from a rich family. When I was a kid my family immigrated to a new country and we had to start over completely.
The only reason I was able to practice so much was that the Israel Tennis Centers, a non-profit organization whose mission is to get more kids playing tennis, believed in me and sponsored me.
I really believe that if you want to keep playing, you can and should find a way. When there's a will, there's a way.
Great sry if it sounded that I implied anything. Anyway, did you feel like you had talent for the game or was it a constant effort from zero
Talent can be technical skills and physical skills, but in my opinion talent can also be the mental ability to put in a lot of hard work and be dedicated. Not every player can do that. It's the combination that will take you to the top.
What were your tennis workout regimens like?
3 hours in the morning, 3 hours in the afternoon.
The routine was 2 hours of tennis, 1 hour of fitness, and in the afternoon another 2 hours of tennis and 1 hour of stretching and physiotherapy. The fitness was everything: running, lifting weights, yoga.
Thanks for doing this, One question. What is one bit of technology that you wish was never invented?
Honestly, the reply button on emails.
When I was a tennis player, I never really had to answer emails. I got maybe 3 emails everyday. Now, running a tech company, I get hundreds.
Watching you at Cincinnati the past few years has been a great time! I hope you enjoyed it here
One of my favorite tournaments. I have a lot of great memories.
If you played singles, do you think you could qualify for a grand slam?
Do you think doubles players are just good but not top players who were smart enough to realize they couldn't make it in singles?
I don't live in the world of "if." As a singles player, I qualified for the Grand Slam and that was during my doubles career. I was 180 in singles and I got injured for a year. When I came back and made it to the semi-finals of Wimbledon doubles, I realized I could be number 1 in the world in doubles and I decided to focus on my doubles career.
Singles and doubles are different games and you need different skills. For example, in doubles I beat Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, and almost every player on tour these days, which would be tougher in singles.
Did you choose your profession because it fit so well with your last name or the other way around?
I never thought about it and I'd have to ask my dad who passed away 10 years ago to know for sure. We'll have a seance after the Reddit AMA and get back to you ;)
That makes sense now! Thanks for responding! Also, what are some of your favorite moments from competing at the Olympics?
My favorite moment was in 2012 when I beat Federer in the second round.
Hey Andy. Who was your toughest opponents and what do you consider your most exhausting match?
The Bryan Brothers were my toughest opponents even though I beat them a few times in my career. They are the best team in the world by far.
The most exhausting loss: after beating Federer and Wawrinka in the Olympics, we lost to the Bryan Brothers 7-6, 7-6 and they took the Gold Medal.
The sweetest win: beating them at the Finals in Cincinnati, their hometown.
What was the hardest part off changing fields? If you end up doin well in tech might you try something else?
The hardest part of changing fields was buying clothes to go to work. I used to get clothes for free from sponsors. Now I have to buy everything and it's a lot of responsibility.
Oh, and sitting in an office for 10 hours straight. That wasn't easy at all and I'm still getting used to it.
As for your second question, when I start something, I'm completely focused on it. Right now all I live, eat, and breathe is Pulse Play. It was the same way with tennis when I was a professional player.
What is the best piece of tennis specific advice you've ever been told?
Hit the ball with the strings and get it over the net.
Just kidding. Probably it's just enjoy what you do and have fun with it. If you're not having fun, it's not worth it.
What kind of tech company do you now run? How has your life changed from being a professional athlete to a tech entrepreneur?
It's called Pulse Play and it's a smart watch for tennis and other racket sport players. The idea is for the smart watch & app to give amateur and recreational players the things that professionals take for granted: live scorekeeping, match history and statistics, finding opponents, and ranking players among their friends, club, league, city, etc. I'm no longer a professional tennis player but I haven't left the tennis world.
I co-founded it 6 months ago and we actually just reached the goal on our crowdfunding campaign yesterday. We'll be launching later this year.
The good part of being an entrepreneur is that I get to see my family a lot more than when I was traveling 8 months each year. But really my whole schedule has changed. I used to train 6 hours a day and have the whole day free; now I work constantly. Both jobs require a lot of mental stamina, but physically now I don't do nearly as many sports and I miss it sometimes.
Ever consider playing doubles with Rajeev Ram? :)
What do you think the ATP and ITF should do to promote doubles?
What did you think of the scoring changes (no-ad, super-tiebreaker) they did to tour doubles a few years ago?
They need to spend more money on promoting doubles stars. They need to put their matches on the central courts more & give them extra exposure.
I loved the changes. I think it put more pressure on the players and important points and brought more interest to the matches overall. I think they should do it to singles matches too which are too long for TV and spectators.
After I retired, the first tournament Erlich played with was with Rajeev because he missed me.
Rajeev is a great friend of mine and unfortunately I never had the chance to play with him.
Ever thought about packaging your tennis technology promotion with a final 8 badge? I bet that would up your sales really quick.
Seriously, though, Universaltennis.com is gaining a ton of support in the US here for rankings and with technology like PlaySight, how will your product fit into the evolving tennis technology landscape?
That's a great idea for the packaging. We'll look into it. Thanks!
We hope to become something that every player will enjoy, whether it's a kid just starting out, a college tennis player, adult league players, or seniors who play a lot of doubles. We're open to cooperation with other companies to bring a better experience to all players.
Who do you think will win this year Wimbledon single? both male and female!
Novak or Grigor.
Serena or Serena.
What's the biggest difference between playing men's doubles and mixed doubles? Can you almost take a breather to some extent when receiving the woman's serve, given the change in its speed, or is it more tactical in terms of getting it back in an advantageous position?
Just how much of a difference is there between clay and grass nowadays? Have you found a certain degree of homogeneity creeping in across all surfaces?
Men's tennis and women's tennis are completely different games, and so are doubles and mixed doubles.
The secret of a mixed player is that you always have to keep the woman happy. The more relaxed the woman is, the better your chances are of winning.
Definitely, the gap between clay and grass is getting smaller. At the same time, they're still completely different surfaces. On clay you still have much more time and the effect of spin is much stronger. As for grass courts, the ball stays low and the effect of slices and flat shots is stronger. But these days more people are playing from the back because the taller grass and bigger balls have slowed down the match.
Just letting you know there were a few errors in the intro of your Wiki page so I've sorted those out for you.
Question: how are you today?
Thanks so much! Appreciate it.
I'm very happy these days. I feel fortunate.
Why do you think networks hardly show any doubles matches? Even the Tennis channel doesn't show much. My family is a big tennis family, and I played doubles all through school. I love the dynamic both as a player and a spectator, and it's frustrating to see the same old tennis matches on TV. Do you think it's because most of the big tennis names aren't doubles players? But isn't that a problem created by not showing doubles matches?
Yes, definitely. It's a problem partly because the stars focus so much on singles and only play a few weeks of doubles every year. Since they're leading the sport, most fans don't develop an interest in doubles.
It's a problem not just in doubles, but also in singles. The most promoted players are just the top 4 or top 8. If there's a guy who is top 30, few are interested (unless he plays one of the top 8).
What do you think is the biggest difference in being a doubles specialist over singles? Is it quite a different skillset? For example, if Djokovic and Andy Murray formed a doubles team would they demolish everyone or would they struggle?
Congratulations on having two awesome careers!
You need different skills to be a good doubles player. You need to be quicker, better at the net, have a good serve and volley, and know how to play it right tactically. And at the same time the most important thing is the chemistry with your partner and you build it over years. That's one of the reasons why the Bryan Brothers are the best team to ever play the game and I believe they'll beat any two singles players you put in front of them.
What were some of your failures as a tech entrepreneur and what have you learned from those?
Only six months in and hasn't happened yet. Knock on wood. But learning something new every day.
Thanks for this AMA. As an avid tennis player and tech/startup enthusiast this is really awesome!!!
So here are my questions:
I'm assuming you don't have an engineering background? How did you go about starting up your company?
What are your hopes for this company in terms of exit, value, etc...?
Change of gears... What was the toughest thing you had to deal with in general as a tour player?
Finally, can I have a job please :) Just graduated with a degree in Finance!
I teamed up with a startup studio called sFBI. They're filling the technological gaps, but I'm learning a lot as I go.
Honestly, right now, we just want to get Pulse Play on the courts and we want it to be something that gives players real value. If it becomes a "household name" on tennis courts, we will have succeeded.
The toughest thing was being on tour for eight months of the year and missing my family.
Send us your CV, but just so you know we're based in a village outside Tel Aviv. Might be better after we open an office in the States.
What do you want from us?
I am champion too. Want to play one game with me?
Sure! It's one of the perks on our indiegogo campaign, but it will cost you. Or come to Ramat Hasharon Tennis Center tomorrow at 10AM and we can play a match.