He managed to hold serve just once in the entire match but an unfazed V M Ranjeet said he played his best game in what turned out to be a nightmarish Davis Cup debut against South Korea's Min Hyeok Cho in New Delhi on Friday.
The 27-year-old Chennai-lad lost 1-6, 0-6, 1-6 in just 83 minutes in the Asia/Oceania Group I tie. Ranjeet found himself on the big stage after stars of Indian tennis revolted and refused to budge even for national duty due to their differences with the AITA.
Not much was expected from him and he did not really surprise either but insisted that he did all that he could.
"I think I have given my best. I was nervous in the beginning but then I thought I settled down and I was playing my game," said Ranjeet when asked about the match.
"He (Cho) was just too good. He had a great game. Everything he tried was coming off well. You could see that he got confident as the match progressed and was playing in the groove," he added in lavish praise of his clearly superior rival.
It was a forgettable outing by all imaginable standards but Ranjeet felt it has made him a better player. "I think I can come back better prepared for the reverse singles," said the player.
Reflecting on his performance, Ranjeet said he gave everything that he had but was done in by a superior opponent.
"I tried to mix things up in the second and third set which you need to do on this kind of surface. But he was returning everything," said the rookie who could only watch in exasperation as Cho retrieved and returned everything that the Indian threw at him.
There was no shortage of inspiration for Ranjeet during the match as senior star Leander Paes egged him on from the sidelines, while Sania Mirza turned to watch him from the stands but nothing went right for him on the court.
"Leander and my captain (S P Misra) told me that I played a good game and the other guy was just too good. He has the experience of playing in the Davis Cup and that matters a lot," he said.
Cho, meanwhile, admitted to being nervy to start with.
"I was a little nervous in the first set but then as the match progressed I managed to settle down," said the player, who has served in the Army for two years.