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Deepti Patwardhan, Hindustan Times
November 07, 2012
In what is being considered as a tactical masterstroke, Rafael Nadal's uncle and coach, Toni, converted the young Rafa to a left-hander to make it that much more difficult for opponents to break him down. But tennis was far from their mind when the naturally left-handed Kimiko Date-Krumm's parents insisted she switch hands to do most chores with her right.

"Going by Japanese tradition, I had to learn how to do things with my right hand," says the demure 42-year-old, who is one of the leading lights of the $125,000 WTA Challenger event in Pune.

"In Japan, we write on paper with black ink from top to bottom. You cannot write that properly with your left hand. Also, while eating with chopsticks you use only one hand. It is considered impolite if you use your wrong hand and bump your elbows with the person sitting next to you.

"Even now, when I need power for my activities it is the right; if it's brushing teeth, sewing, I use the left hand."

Left is right
But Date-Krumm, a former world No 4, who made a popular return to tennis after 12 years in 2008, didn't hesitate about which would be her dominant hand when she picked up the tennis racquet.

"The club I went to, everyone played with a right hand. So I just copied them. If required, I can sometimes switch hands during the rally to hit with the left hand."

Having made such an elementary adjustment early in life, redefining her physical boundaries has almost become a habit for Date-Krumm. She ran the London Marathon in 2004, inside four hours, just to get over her hatred for running.

Date-Krumm first rose through the rankings in the Steffi Graf era, and is now adapting to life on the Tour in the Serena Williams age. Her game, all short smart snaps and speed, now has the additional weight of muscle-a pre-requisite in today's tennis, says Date-Krumm.

Rutuja loses
Indian teenager Rutuja Bhosale got a glimpse of the tough journey she's about to embark on as was out-paced, out-served and out-smarted by Elina Svitolina.

The 16-year-old, who'd scoed an unexpected win over So-Ra Lee of Korea in the opening round on Monday, crashed back to earth with a 3-6, 0-6 defeat against the Ukranian seventh seed in the second round of the Royal Indian Open.

Singles Round 2: 3-Donna Vekic bt Oksana Kalashnikova 6-2, 4-6, 6-0; 7-Elina Svitolina bt Rutuja Bhosale 6-3, 6-0; Luksika Kumkhum bt 4-Eva Birnerova 3-6, 6-3, 6-1; DOUBLES - ROUND 1 K Date-Krumm / K Nara bt A Bhargava / S Shapatava 6-2, 6-1