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Was close to being done with tennis: Yuki Bhambri


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Yuki Bhambri was named in India’s Davis Cup squad that will face Denmark in the World Group I playoffs on Friday and Saturday at Delhi Gymkhana.

 

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Yuki Bhambri during a practice session ahead of Davis Cup World Group 1 play-off tie between India and Denmark, at Gymkhana Club in New Delhi,(PTI)

 

Four years back, Yuki Bhambri’s career graph was rising. The Delhi player had broken into the top 100, reached a career-high ranking of 83 and qualified for the main draw of all four Grand Slams—the only time he did.

But a string of knee injuries kept India’s top singles player out of action for over three years. “For any athlete to be injured is the toughest thing. I was pretty close to being done with tennis because I couldn’t find a way back,” said the 29-year-old.

Bhambri returned in February 2021 but his knee again put him out for several months. He finally played at the Australian Open qualifiers this year before going on to win his first match on the ATP Tour in Pune on January 31.

“It was incredible (to win on ATP Tour again). I had to put in a lot of work to try and come back. There were times when I felt I wasn’t going to make it. I have had some decent results this year. I am just trying to play as much as I can and hopefully get up the rankings as much as possible,” said Bhambri, now world No. 590.

Bhambri was named in India’s Davis Cup squad that will face Denmark in the World Group I playoffs on Friday and Saturday at Delhi Gymkhana. Experience on grass made the selectors choose Bhambri over Sumit Nagal, whose favoured surface is clay.

“Playing a Davis Cup tie at home is extremely emotional so I am really looking forward to it, said Bhambri, who won the 2009 Australian Open as a junior.

"Being back after so long is tough but Bhambri said what helped was that he could “count on experience. I am enjoying my tennis and hopefully I can reach new heights".

For now, Bhambri is looking to play as much as he can and assess his future in the latter half of the year. “Will then see what the rankings are and what to do and what not to but the schedule stays similar: play Davis Cup, the clay and grass seasons, all the Grand Slams and do the best I can.”

The draw

India No.1 Ramkumar Ramanathan has been drawn to face Christian Sigsgaard in the opening rubber on Friday followed by Bhambri playing Mikael Torpegaard. Saturday will see the pair of Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan against Johannes Ingildsen and Frederik Nielsen before the reverse singles.

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