‘I have happy memories from Australian Open,’ says Yuki Bhambri
The last time he played singles on the professional Tour, Yuki Bhambri had beaten the country’s best players Ramkumar Ramanathan and Prajnesh Gunneswaran, in March last year in Dubai.
Even though he has played only doubles, winning two ITF titles with Saketh Myneni in Lucknow and Gurugram since then, the 29-year-old Bhambri said that he had done his best to be ready for his favourite Grand Slam, Australian Open.
Talking to the media from Melbourne on Sunday, Bhambri, set to compete in the Australian Open qualifying event, said that his focus had all along been to be ready for this event. He had won the junior title in Melbourne in 2009 and was the No.1 junior in the world.
“I feel good, stepping on court. I have happy memories from this Slam. Hope it helps my confidence and serve me well’’, said Bhambri, who will be playing the 248th ranked Joao Domingues of Portugal in the first qualifying round.
Bhambri had played all the four Grand Slams in 2018 and reached a career best rank of 83, but a recurring knee injury has kept him out of the circuit repeatedly.
“I have done it multiple times in the past. Am looking forward to it. I enjoy playing and that has kept me motivated. I have missed being part of the whole Tour. Happy to give myself the opportunity to compete again. It will be one match at a time’’, said Bhambri who had prepared by playing the ATP event in Melbourne with Michael Venus of New Zealand.
He was sharp in saying that the whole Novak Djokovic episode was “unfortunate’’, and added that there could have been more clarity.
Bhambri lauded Ramkumar Ramanathan and Rohan Bopanna for winning the doubles title in Adelaide and said that it was a “great start’’ for Indian tennis, as Sasikumar Mukund had also made the Challenger final.
When queried about the system not producing many Indian tennis champions, Bhambri said that it was individual effort by the players and that the administrators should be asked the question.
Bhambri said that he was looking forward to playing in the Pune ATP event and the Challengers in Bengaluru, apart from Davis Cup.
“It will be a good opportunity, if we play to potential on grass, as the teams are balanced. If I get selected, I can help India pull through,” said Bhambri, about beating Belgium in the next Davis Cup tie scheduled on grass at the Gymkhana Club in Delhi in March.
(Watch Australian Open 2022 live from January 17 on Sony Six, Sony Ten 3 and Ten 4 channels).