Yuki focussed on ranking to get entry into ATP events

Yuki had done all the hard work through two Masters tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami in the US, to set himself up for the jump into the elite league of top-100 players.

Yuki Bhambri skipped the Davis Cup tie to focus on his recovery.   -  R. Ragu

Yuki Bhambri was happy to have reached his career-best ATP ranking of 83 on Monday, but was quite honest when probed about his priorities.

The 25-year-old Yuki had done all the hard work through two Masters tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami in the US, to set himself up for the jump into the elite league of top-100 players. But the niggles in the abdomen and shoulder compelled him to take time off and skip the Davis Cup tie against China.

Yuki surprised everyone, and shocked some, by jumping back into the professional circuit, two days after the Davis Cup tie, and playing strong to win the $150,000 Challenger.

How professional was the decision to skip Davis Cup?

"Seeing how well Ram and Prajnesh played, it was a fantastic decision," said Yuki, pouncing on the chance to nail his point of view.

"No, it is always tough to miss Davis Cup, and I hope to be back for the World Group play-off," said Yuki, who watched his team-mates fight it out against China in Tianjin, from being down 0-2 to seal the tie 3-2, on the television.

"It was a phenomenal tie. We have a lot of depth and are very dominant at the Asian level. For some reason we have had to struggle lately in the doubles. But that doubles win by Bopanna and Leander, got the ball rolling," said Yuki, quite delighted by the performance of Ramkumar Ramanathan and Prajnesh Gunneswaran in particular, who rode the wave to slay the dragon in its den.

Looking at his own situation, Yuki said that he took a chance to play the Challenger in Taipei, as it was part of the original plan, and would take time off now and return by the first week of May to get ready for the Grand Slams, starting with the French Open.

"I took a chance to see if I could get into the main draw of French Open," said Yuki, quite pleased that his instincts guided him well.

"It has definitely been a great few months. Very consistent, and I am happy about that. I have always tried to balance my schedule, but it also depends a lot on the results. Fortunately, I have had good weeks. So, I can pick and choose tournaments. Having said that, I try to set a target of 25 tournaments for the year," said Yuki, as he elaborated on his vision.

Even though his gamble paid handsome rewards, with the impressive rank jump, Yuki was categorical that he would not push his luck too much on the demanding clay.

"I will probably just play the French Open on clay, but intend to play full grass season. Maybe, one tournament  or a week of training for French Open. Prefer to focus on hard and grass," said Yuki.

Even though he does not have a sponsor for the season so far, Yuki has been willing to make the investments and had coach Stephen Koon travel with him for the Masters events in the US. The exercise proved to be quite rewarding.

While it was trainer Dharmedra Pratap Singh, affectionately known as Abhimanu, who was with Yuki in Taipei, the young man expects Stephen Koon to join him for the tournaments next month and the Grand Slams.

With his priorities sorted, Yuki has opted to keep things simple.

"At the moment, I will just try to keep pushing the ranking up to get entry into the ATP events," he said.

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