Sidharth Rawat playing close to his potential, says coach

Coach Gaurav Sharma is now aiming to get Sidharth into the top 250 in world rankings so that he can compete in Grand Slams.

Sidharth Rawat (left) with coach Gaurav Sharma. - KAMESH SRINIVASAN

Indian tennis is booming. Dozens of high quality coaching academies have sprung up across the country, and there are many players who are training in Europe and elsewhere, gaining the best of guidance in excellent facilities.

Yet, it was the unassuming Gaurav Sharma, coach at the Defence Colony Club, who got it right as he guided his ward Sidharth Rawat to a title from three finals in the recent ITF men’s circuit. “Now he is playing close to his potential. He can get better from here,” said Gaurav, happy about the quality of game and consistency shown by the 28-year-old Sidharth.

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It has been a long association between Gaurav and Sidharth. They first bonded in 2010 when Gaurav was coach at the Team Tennis run by Aditya Sachdeva. Later, Gaurav started his own coaching scheme, and Sidharth moved with him in 2015. What impresses Sidharth most in Gaurav? “It is his skill of catching a mistake and correcting it instantly,” says Sidharth, who has diligently strengthened his game and attitude over the years.

With many other good players training with Gaurav, including one of the country’s best juniors, Chirag Duhan, Sidharth has become a role model for the rest. “Gaurav sir can always show my example, the mistakes I used to make and the transformation I had, so that others don’t repeat those mistakes and progress faster,” said Sidharth, ever willing to help others.

Aspiring to be a civil servant

The goal of the coach and ward is for Sidharth to get into the top 250 rank so that he can compete in the Grand Slams. As if the challenges of tennis in the international professional circuit are not enough, Sidharth prepares earnestly to be a civil servant. “I always wanted to do it. The COVID situation gave me the opportunity to prepare. I like to help people. Becoming a civil servant will be an added benefit of power to do the stuff that I want to do promptly. I have four attempts left. Hopefully, I can do it soon,”

he said about clearing the UPSC examination.

How does he manage to combine tennis with studies? “It is definitely tough! I can manage to study when training at home. It becomes difficult when travelling. This time I have decided to take a month off tennis before the exam on June 5,” he said.

With so much clarity of thought, no wonder Sidharth plays tennis with such conviction. He will play three ITF events in Thailand before focusing on the studies for entering the Indian Administrative Service.

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