EMIRATES ATP RANKINGS - STARS OF TOMORROW
Ricardas Berankis: Leading Lithuania
by Matt Fitzgerald|
In 2011, Ricardas Berankis was making steady progress up the Emirates ATP Rankings before a right pelvis stress fracture derailed his trajectory, causing him to drop well outside the Top 100.
Last year, after returning from yet another setback, a sports hernia, Berankis began to rebuild his ranking, and made history by becoming the first Lithuanian to reach an ATP World Tour final in Los Angeles. The 22 year old has continued down the right path this season, reaching the third round at the Australian Open and two tour-level quarter-finals. In the latest rankings, Berankis has equalled his career-high standing of World No. 67.
As part of ATPWorldTour.com's ‘Emirates Stars Of Tomorrow’ series, Berankis talks about his return to the Top 100, leading the way for Lithuania and selects the match where he best displayed his talent against the game’s elite players.
After dealing with a difficult injury in 2011, you managed to reach a career-high ranking of No. 67 earlier this month. What were some of the most challenging moments you went through during your comeback?
I think just staying strong mentally. When you’re at No. 73 in the rankings and then go down to No. 179, after this happens, it’s always tough to come back. It was not easy. I’m really happy with how I was able to do that.
How proud are you at the way you've been able to build your ranking back up and return to the Top 100?
It’s a very nice feeling. Still, I feel I had a couple matches that I feel I should have won. Hopefully next time I won’t make those same mistakes but I’m really happy with where I’m ranked at the moment.
You're the highest-ranked player from Lithuania in ATP World Tour history. Do you thrive in leading the way for your country or do you feel there's more pressure on you to do well?
Tennis is getting more popular in my country. I don’t feel more pressure being the top player. I hope there will be more players from Lithuania on the Tour. I look forward to that process and seeing how it goes.
Now that you're in a position to continue reaching new heights, what are you looking to accomplish the rest of this season?
The main goal for me this year is not to get injured again. It will hopefully be the first time in three years that I don’t have an injury during a season. I hope to continue going in the same way with my health and play.
Looking back, of the tour-level matches you’ve played thus far, which one best showcased your ability to compete with the top players and why?
I think my match against Andy Murray this year in Australia. We played on Rod Laver Arena and it was fully packed. The memories from that day are great. I played really well and enjoyed it. It is one of the matches that I will remember.