How physio Paul Ness revived Pranjala’s career

A stiff back following a lower back injury had kept Pranjala Yadlapalli away from the tennis court for nearly a year; Ness set her career back on track.

Pranjala Yadlapalli in a training session with physio Paul Ness in Melbourne.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT


A stiff back following a lower back injury had kept Pranjala Yadlapalli away from the tennis court for nearly a year. A timely visit to Melbourne, before lockdown around the world, and the efficient care from Paul Ness, a renowned physio who deals with elite athletes, has set her career back on course.

After Pranjala won all her three matches in an UTR event in Melbourne, Paul assessed her abilities.

"Pranjala had injured her lower back when she overstretched for a return. The back had become stiff. Her usual treatments and exercises were not able to loosen it up. She lost strength around the area and general fitness," said Paul.

He was able to put her into a routine to relieve her from the trouble.

"The first part was to make her flexible again. I used a range of mobilisation and soft tissue release techniques. As her movement improved, we worked on a strengthening program starting with basic core exercises. These exercises develop the muscles and protect the muscles that support the spine. As she improved, we added general strengthening and tennis specific exercises as well. Pranjala has a fantastic work ethic. We worked out a program to make her lighter and faster on her feet," said Paul.

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It was coach Stephen Koon who had suggested Pranjala to go to Paul. Go Sports Foundation took care of the expenses, as Pranjala obtained a fast track visa to reach Melbourne.

"Pranjala has put in a huge effort to develop the strength and fitness a professional tennis player needs. It was a long process and she did not lose focus. We had small setbacks along the way, which is normal, and her level now is better than it has ever been. I am hopeful that she will be able to compete at a very high level," observed Paul.

"I usually work with tennis players for a relatively short time at tournaments. It has been interesting and a professionally stimulating process for me to work with Pranjala over an extended period of time," he added.

"She is a great person to work with and has rarely complained, except when I beat her in running drills! The challenge is to keep the training interesting, enjoyable and with a purpose. I like to have an aim for every session that relates to tennis which I think helps motivate players. Good communication is essential and the ability to be open and honest has helped us both be on the same page with our goals and expectations," explained Paul.

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The best way forward for Pranjala is to "stick with the plan’’.

"Given that we do not have tennis tournaments for a little while, we will continue to strengthen, get fitter and have more time on the practice court to help the best return to professional competition," said Paul.

Being in lockdown in Melbourne has been the best remedy for Pranjala who may be able to step it up on the professional circuit as and when she returns to that level.

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