Coach Clark heaps praise on super Zeel

It was Zeel’s coach for the last two years, Todd Clark, who had looked at the positive side of the development and had hoped that Zeel, and the other tennis player, Siddhant Banthia, would capitalise on the situation by being professional in preparing themselves during the event.

Zeel Desai with coach Todd Clark.   -  Special Arrangement

 

For the brave, good and bad fortunes are like two hands, a wise man had said. They use both.

Left to defend for herself without a coach or a manager, the country’s best junior tennis player, Zeel Desai did her parents, coach and the country proud by clinching two gold medals in the Commonwealth Youth Games that concluded in Bahamas on Sunday.

READ: Zeel Desai wins two gold medals; India finishes seventh

It was Zeel’s coach for the last two years, Todd Clark, who had looked at the positive side of the development and had hoped that Zeel, and the other tennis player, Siddhant Banthia, would capitalise on the situation by being professional in preparing themselves during the event.

Forced to stay back home to take care of the fast growing tennis academy in Ahmedabad, coach Todd Clark was understandably elated with the fine performance of Zeel, starting with Wimbledon.

“It is always a honour to represent your country and the Commonwalth Youth Games was an opportunity that Zeel could not pass up. Having performed reasonably well at Wimbledon, Zeel was feeling quite confident going into this event. Having a solid mixed doubles partner in Siddhant Banthia definitely gave Zeel a boost,” said Todd Clark, as he put things in perspective.

Looking at the bigger picture and tracing the growth of the girl, Todd said that he was particularly happy with the way Zeel had improved her understanding of the game and communicating the same in an efficient fashion.

“Zeel’s performances have been reasonably consistent over the past two years. We have developed a good rapport and our communication both on phone and online has played an important role. Zeel has now developed the ability to provide me with a fairly accurate recap of the match and this in turn has allowed me to help her more effectively. We have close to 350 players at the Ahmedabad Racquet Academy and Zeel appreciates the fact that I cannot travel to every event with her,” said the coach.

It was very encouraging for the coach to find Zeel handle the situation in a positive way and ‘’mature both as a player and a person, taking more responsibility for her performance and development’’.

Of course, Todd Clark was with Zeel in Melbourne at the start of the season for the Australian Open where Zeel made the quarterfinals of singles, a rare achievement for an Indian girl.

Zeel will be reaching the climax of her junior career at the US Open, after which she will compete only in the women’s events.

“Zeel will take a little time off before heading to Thailand for two ITF women’s events. After these events, it will be a 10-day training stint before she heads to the US. After that all her attention will shift to women’s events. Obviously, Zeel would love to represent India at the senior level in the future. The Fed Cup and Asian Games will surely be some targets that Zeel would work hard to achieve’’, said Todd.

In the handful of events that Zeel has played in the women’s circuit so far in the last two years, she has already won a singles and a doubles title. With a fine coach to guide her, Zeel looks set to garner more glory, in due course of time.

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