Yuki Bhambri easing his way back to fitness

The country’s No.1 singles player in tennis, the 122nd ranked Yuki has been nursing a painful elbow for some time now.

Yuki Bhambri was only the third Indian in more than two decades to be in the top 100 of men’s world ranking after Leander Paes and Somdev Devvarman.   -  Getty Images

Every time he plays good tennis and threatens to break into the big league, Yuki Bhambri’s aspirations are brought down by an injury.

The country’s No.1 singles player in tennis, the 122nd ranked Yuki has been nursing a painful elbow for some time now. In fact, the "tennis elbow" had recurred, as Yuki missed many weeks the first time after winning the Challenger title in Pune in October last year.

The 23-year-old Yuki returned in time for the Australian Open, which he played without any practice against World No.6 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. When he eventually recovered, gained strength and rhythm to win the doubles title with Mahesh Bhupathi in the Delhi Open Challenger and later made the semifinals of the Zhuhai Challenger, the pain caught up with him once again.

Yuki had to concede the second round of singles after five games, and gave a walkover in the doubles quarterfinals with Saketh Myneni, in the Guangzhou Challenger in the third week of March.

No tennis since then for Yuki who had been ranked a career best No.88 last year, only the third Indian in more than two decades to be in the top-100 of men’s world ranking after Leander Paes and Somdev Devvarman.

"It is getting better slowly, but still a long way before I can start practice. I think, another month minimum", said Yuki, when contacted.

With the Grand Slams around the corner, the Davis Cup against Korea in Chandigarh, and possibly Olympics in Rio, it is bound to be anxious times for the young man who was ranked world No.1 in the juniors, had won the Australian Open junior title and finished runner-up in the Youth Olympics.

"There is no definite time period for this. It takes its own time. Hopefully, I will be back by Wimbledon’’, said Yuki.

Every day, Yuki goes through stretching and massage for the elbow and strength exercises for the arm and shoulder. "I run and gym every day, so that my fitness is maintained when I get back to playing", said Yuki.

He is a tough guy, used to handling hard situations, as injuries have eaten into large chunks of his playing time. Yuki will need all the energy to strike at his best when he returns to the circuit, and attempts to make up for lost time. Till then, it is a waiting game.

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