Eighty precious ranking points is what Yuki Bhambri pocketed after winning his maiden ATP Challenger crown in Fergana on Sunday. It was these hard-earned points which catapulted the world No. 297 to the 218th spot in this week's ranking list.
"I think it should be enough to make the Wimbledon men's singles qualifying cut," the top-ranked Indian on the ATP charts claimed after returning to the city. Yuki overtook Somdev Devvarman (232) after the win. After an exceptional two weeks, which saw Yuki claim his maiden doubles Challenger crown in Busan with compatriot Divij Sharan, the icing on the cake for the 19-year-old was the singles crown in Fergana, Uzbekistan.
All tennis players dream to play at Wimbledon, but with grasscourts not favourable these days, most professionals practice on hard. "It's been a few years since I played on grasscourts, maybe in 2008 when I played the Junior Wimbledon…" Yuki tried to recollect.
"Just like Busan, where I played doubles thinking of it as a new experience, I want to enjoy Wimbledon." But that doesn't mean he's taking Big W lightly. He will be training in the city for two weeks on grasscourts.
He had hoped to break into the top-200 by the yearend but if he continues to play on the Challenger circuit the whole year, breaking into the top-150 is also a possibility. "Playing Challengers are the priority but if I get chances in ATP tournaments, it would be good," the teenager added.
After the 2009 junior Australian Open victory, critics had predicted greater things. But three years on, after fighting injuries and criticism for on-court inconsistencies, the monkey's finally off Yuki's back.