Shruti Ahlawat aspires to play junior Grand Slams

Once viewed as injury-prone, the India No. 1 (among junior girls) has improved her fitness and diet to become athletic and strong.

Shruti Ahlawat (right) with coach Pundreek Chaturvedi. - SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Shruti Ahlawat is 15 years of age and has played only seven ITF junior tournaments to emerge as the No. 1 junior girl in the country.

Once viewed as injury-prone and as a player with “a heavy body structure,” the bespectacled Shruti has worked remarkably on her fitness and diet to become athletic and strong.

Coach Pundreek Chaturvedi, who has been training Shruti for the last year and a half, is understandably pleased with the results, and the potential of his ward. "Shruti is doing an amazing job. In seven international junior tournaments, she won four titles and was runner-up in one. In doubles, she was runner-up thrice. Am excited about her performance and progress," Pundreek said.

ALSO READ - Sania Mirza-Shaui Zhang pair loses doubles quarterfinals in Luxembourg

Even as the 241st ranked Shruti aspires to compete internationally and boost her world rank, a lot of work is being done on her game to prepare her for the grind in the higher echelons of the game.

"We have been working on increasing the pace of her strokes and variation in her game. We are also working a lot on her serve," observed the coach.

The mental aspect

International tennis is not just about good technique, fitness and stamina to play a high standard for a long time. It is also about grooming the personality, and tuning the mind, to face the challenges, benefiting both from wins and losses.

"Shruti was very sensitive and could not digest her losses. It took a lot of time to make her realise that in order to become a better player, you have to be prepared to lose. At the higher level, the chances of losing are more. Now, she fights from difficult situations to win matches. Over time, her personality has been moulded and her mindset has been tuned to help her compete in bigger tournaments," said Pundreek.

The coach feels that with financial support from the government and the corporate sector, Shruti should be able to play about 25 weeks of tournaments in the U.S. and Europe apart from Asia, in the coming season, so as to be ready to make an impact in the junior Grand Slams.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :