Indian tennis player Yuki Bhambri is all set to feature in his first Grand Slam since 2018 as on Monday, he will begin his 2022 Australian Open campaign in the qualification round. After enduring a start-stop career, the player is hoping to make a comeback for good.
The journey back to the tennis court has been rigorous and pain-stricken, to say the least. He was absent from action throughout the 2019 and 2020 seasons due to tendonitis in both knees. He made a return in February 2021, playing two ATP Tour tournaments but soon after, in April, he tested positive for the wretched Covid-19. The infection resulted in another long stint off the court.
He next set foot on the court for a competitive match in November last year, taking part in the ITF India F6 Futures tournament. And now, he is currently in Melbourne preparing for a comeback to one of the biggest stages in world tennis.
For a professional athlete, it becomes imperative to bring about certain changes to their training regime following such long layoffs. Twenty-nine-year-old Bhambri is no different. While answering a question by the Hindustan Times, during a press meet attended by select media, Bhambri revealed that while his technique hasn’t changed much, he has had to pay more attention to certain aspects.
“After a certain point of time, there aren’t any major changes that you do. You are not suddenly going to change the way you hit a tennis ball or the way you move around. For me, for that sort of matter, the changes you bring including giving that extra focus to the areas that you injured, in continuation with your rehab. That has been the case with me.
“I had to spend more time strengthening, stretching my knee, my ankles and my legs. I spend more time than that. And of course, we do the rest of the work like training, running, lifting, and playing tennis. You give that added time (to training) when you injure yourself in order to prepare for the rigours of the tour,” said Yuki while speaking to the media in a meet organized by Sony Sports.
Despite slipping to a world ranking of 1035, the Youth Olympic Games silver medallist has used his protected ranking of 127 to feature in the AO qualifiers. Since he was world No.100 when he played an ATP tournament in 2018 (in Antwerp), he is eligible to keep the injury-protected ranking for 12 tournaments. Moreover, Bhambri has to complete his quota of 12 tournaments by August 2022 with the protected ranking.
Moreover, Yuki would be looking to add to the bright start Indian tennis has had in the first week of 2022. While the men’s doubles pair of Ramkumar Ramanathan and Rohan Bopanna bagged the Adelaide International title, Mukund Sasikumar has made the finals of a Challenger tournament in Forli, Itlay.
Watch Australian Open 2022 from January 17, 2022 on SONY SIX , SONY TEN 3 and SONY TEN 4 channels.