Yuki Bhambri all set for French Open challenge

Yuki Bhambri has been drawn in the same bracket as Jack Sock, Denis Shapovalov and Richard Gasquet.

This will be Yuki Bhambri's maiden appearance at the Roland Garros.   -  R. Ragu

India's top-ranked tennis ace and the country's sole player in the French Open singles, Yuki Bhambri, is a picture of calm ahead of his maiden Roland Garros outing.

Yuki is in for a challenging campaign as he's drawn in the same bracket as Jack Sock and Richard Gasquet. When asked what his ideal target would be, given that if he gets through the first three rounds he could potentially run into reigning champion Rafael Nadal, he quipped, "The more rounds the merrier! (laughs) Ideally, I'm aiming to reach the final but I'll take it one game at a time. The tournament features the best players in the world but on a given day, anyone can beat anyone."

The 25-year-old Yuki takes on Belgium's Ruben Bemelmans in the first round. Yuki, however, comes to the burnt-orange Parisian courts with hardly any practice on clay. He last featured in a hardcourt tournament – the Busan Open – where he made a second-round exit. "I made the cut for the French Open at the last minute after winning the Challenger in Chinese Taipei. I couldn't play any tournaments on clay because of the timing of it and I had missed most deadlines by then," he said.

When asked if clay was his least preferred surface, as all the sliding and stopping could take a toll on his body, he said, "My muscles aren't used to the surface as we hardly practice on clay in India. It is definitely tougher on the body, but I'm getting used to it."

Excited to play doubles

Yuki will also be seen in action in the men's doubles, when he teams up with compatriot and seasoned doubles player Divij Sharan, in what will be their first Grand Slam appearance together. Yuki and Sharan were last seen in action at the Maharashtra Open in January.

"The last time I played Grand Slam doubles was in 2013 and I'm excited to get back to this format. Sharan and I have been playing on and off for the last 6-7 months. We share a good equation and I think we have a good shot," he remarked.