Yuki Bhambri: 'Missing US Open for Asian Games unimaginable'

Yuki Bhambri was dropped from the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) for opting to play U.S. Open and missing the Asian Games.

Yuki Bhambri has directly qualified for the US Open main draw.   -  AFP

When the leading Indian tennis players are slowing down to get ready for the Asian Games, the country’s best singles player, the 86th ranked Yuki Bhambri is sharpening his arsenal to be at his best in the U.S. Open.

It has been raining heavy in the Capital for the last two days, but the 26-year-old Yuki has been working out in the gym with his trainer Dharmendra Pratap Singh, affectionately called as Abhimanu.

Yuki was delighted to find Ramkumar Ramanathan, whom he had beaten in the Taipei Challenger final in April, reach the final of the ATP Tour event in Newport.

‘’It was fantastic to see Ramkumar do well in Newport. It seems to be a lucky ground for Indians. I have always believed that Ramkumar has the game to do well on the Tour’’, said Yuki, quite happy for his Davis Cup teammate.

Yuki had his reason to stop after Wimbledon, and get ready for the tough grind ahead. ‘’I was playing and travelling for about eight weeks straight from Busan to Wimbledon. So, I definitely needed a break to recharge, train and get ready for the big events in the States. I also wanted to make a few small changes to my game, which needed time. I had to do this in order to keep improving and getting better," Yuki reasoned.

 
"I am grateful to the AITA for backing me on this (opting for US Open) and understanding that I am the only one representing India at the Open in singles. Also, it is not about the money. It is the prestige of playing in such a big event and competing with the best in the world that the TOPS committee do not understand."
 

 

He also had to listen to his body. "I have been happy with my game, but unfortunately I suffered from inflammation in my knee right after the French Open, and have been playing with it throughout the grass season. I wanted to return to the circuit in Washington DC but the process has been slow. I have still been lifting weights and working on the technical side of things. I am hopeful to be back for the Cincinnatti Masters," he said.

Even though he would love to improve on his two bronze medals that he won in the last Asian Games in Incheon, Yuki was categorical that he would not miss the U.S. Open for anything.

"I don’t know who made the schedule, clashing the Asian Games with one of the biggest tennis tournaments in the world. Had it been any other time, there would be no hesitation in playing it. Hopefully, down the line, I will get a chance to improve on my bronze medals, but to miss out on playing my first ever main draw of the U.S. Open is unimaginable for me. I have worked all my life to get this opportunity. In fact, every kid dreams of competing in the Grand Slams. So there is no question of missing it," Yuki said.

Being out of the Union Sports Ministry’s TOPS scheme does hurt him, but Yuki is happy for the moral support extended by the national federation.

"I am grateful to the AITA for backing me on this and understanding that I am the only one representing India at the Open in singles.
Also, it is not about the money. It is the prestige of playing in such a big event and competing with the best in the world that the TOPS committee do not understand," said Yuki, who has been dropped from the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) for opting to play U.S. Open and missing the Asian Games.

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