EXCLUSIVE: Vivek Ramaswamy taught himself a new backhand so he could continue playing tennis with one arm when he broke his wrist
As a nationally ranked junior tennis player, Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy thought his game was up when he broke his wrist.
He had always used a two-handed backhand so his chances of winning with one arm in a cast seemed minimal.
But using the same focus that has seen him rise from an obscure but successful businessman to a challenger for the nation’s top job, young Vivek taught himself a vicious one-handed slice that put him back into contention, a former teammate told DailyMail.cm.
‘Vivek kept playing and within a few weeks, he had taught himself a one-handed slice backhand and was almost beating me with one arm, Corey Ingle said.
‘Nothing could keep the kid down.
Young Vivek starring on the court in his junior year of high school as shown in his school’s yearbook
Ramaswamy used the focus he learned on the tennis court to battle his opponents on the Milwaukee debate stage
Vivek broke his wrist but played on after teaching himself a vicious one-handed sliced backhan that put him back into contention
‘He used a lot of intellect and focus,’ said Ingle, 38. ‘He was probably not the most talented person out there on the court but could always find ways to win.
‘And in tennis, that’s the difference a lot of the time.’
Ingle, now an intellectual property lawyer in Ramaswamy’s hometown of Cincinnati, said the son of Indian immigrants was determined not to let the wrist injury stop him.
‘Whenever he had a task in front of him, he always did it incredibly well, whether that be studying where he really excelled or tennis. He was consistent and a hard worker.’
‘He was pretty good at everything he touched, it seemed. He was a good tennis player, a good pianist. The list goes on.’
Ramaswamy still plays tennis at every oppotunity. He took on New York Magazine editor Benjamin Hart as part of a profile.
‘Ramaswamy plays like a club pro with fluid ground strokes and an impressively speedy serve.’
Ramaswamy is now second in some polls and third in others as he and other Republicans battle for their party’s presidential nomination.
Former President Donald Trump, who still leads all polls by a sizeable margin, has even sung his praises saying he would make a ‘very good’ vice president after his performance in last week’s debate in Milwaukee, which he was widely considered to have won.
Ramaswamy, 38, has said he is not interested in the Number Two spot – although he softened that stance when he told a British interviewer the job would be ‘a fine position’ for someone of his age.
Young Vivek asked why he should vote for the candidate with the least experience when he appeared on an MSNBC townhall with then-Democratic candidate Al Sharpton in 2004
Ramaswamy was valedictorian in the class of 2003 at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati where fees are now $16,000 a year
Ramaswamy, 38, took to the hustings at the Eisenhower Social in Boone, Iowa on Thursday
But those who know the biotech billionaire insist that he is focused on America’s top job, rather than landing a job in any future Trump administration.
‘I don’t believe he would waste his time…there’s not a lot of things in life that he probably has set his mind to and not been successful,’ said Ingle.
Ingle and Ramaswamy – who met up again at a recent campaign stop – have known each other since they started playing tennis at age 12, both studied at the elite Jesuit St Xavier High School in Cincinnati, where fees are currently $16,000 a year.
Attorney Corey Ingle says Ramaswamy was ‘always beyond’ schoolwork other students were doing
They trained at the Queen’s City Racquet Club and Fitness Center, a short drive from the Cincinnati suburb of Evendale where the son of Indian immigrants grew up with his young brother Shankar.
His father was a General Electric engineer, and his mother was a geriatric psychiatrist, who emigrated to the United States over 40 years ago from Kerala, southern India.
Friends described Ramaswamy as ‘quiet’ and ‘squeaky clean’, and said he was someone who was nearly always top of his class and picking up some of the best grades in the school’s history.
‘They even had to start giving him different match classes because he was always beyond some of the stuff that everyone else was doing,’ said one ex-St Xavier student.
And in his spare time away from his studies and the tennis court, Ramaswamy also attended two science clubs, according to his 2002 yearbook.
It is a far cry from the firebrand entrepreneur-turned-political hopeful who rails against ‘woke’ issues such as the climate change agenda and the ‘cult-like’ LGBT community.
The 17-year-old Ramaswamy was also a part of a high school initiative known as ‘Hands Across Campus.’
The after-school club ‘focuses on developing the awareness and social skills students need to acquire to become a leader in the 21st Century.’
He was known as ‘quiet’ and ‘squeaky clean’ while in high school where he played piano and tennis and was nearly always top of his class
Vivek Ramaswamy was generally considered to have given the best performance at the Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee last week
Young Vivek grew up in this house in the Cincinnati suburb of Evendale
Vivek and his friend Corey Ingle played tennis at the Queen City Racquet and Fitness Club
The Republican candidate would later go on to study at Harvard and Yale before launching his biotech empire, Roivant Sciences,
Ingle said that his friend showed little interest in politics as a youngster.
‘He was never really outspoken about politics from what I remember,’ Ingle told DailyMail.com. ‘I don’t think anything that he is saying now is much different from his attitudes in high school.
‘If anything, he was maybe libertarian-leaning. So, he didn’t do a big flip-flop there.’
‘I think a lot of issues now just weren’t there (at that time),’ he added. ‘He was not following day-to-day politics. I am sure he was observant of it, but he wasn’t consumed by it or anything like that.’
Ramaswamy, av38-year-old father of two, who is married to renowned Ohio throat surgeon Apoorva, has surged in voter approval surveys since his debate performance last week and a string of media appearances over the summer.
He has climbed from 1 percent in March to nearly just over 9 percent, according to an average of GOP primary opinion polls by political forecasters 538.
However, Ramaswamy faces an uphill battle to overturn Donald Trump’s position as the frontrunner, who soared as high as 50 percent.
That is despite a slew of indictments that accuse the former president of trying to overturn the 2020 election result to mishandling classified documents.
To win, the St Xavier graduate, who also trails Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in some polls, will have t score a major upset.
But as ex-tennis partner Cory Ingle recalls from their time on the court together: ‘He was dignified in defeat, I mean everyone loses in tennis.’