From no-tennis pre-season to playing world no. 30: Rutuja Bhosale is on the move
At the Fed Cup, the 23-year-old wins three of five matches she played, ensuring India qualified for the World Group playoff for the first time.Updated: Mar 20, 2020 17:05 IST
PUNE Rutuja Bhosale, for too long has been adding clips to the ‘what if she was injury free’ movie trailer.
Here recent Fed Cup showing was another clip.
Bhosale started the year with the $25k doubles title, partnering Miyabi Inoue in Jodhpur. At the Fed Cup, she won three of five matches she played, ensuring India qualified for the World Group playoff for the first time.
Bhosale, on Corona lockdown, talks to Jigar Hindocha about being on the starting block to a top-100 WTA women’s seeding, and what the future holds.
Is the shoulder injury done and dusted, or is it going to be a recurring theme that defines your career?
To manage injury is something I have to keep doing all the time. When I was in college for four years in the US a medical team was on call 24 hours. Since I came back, it has been very difficult. Last year, in December, I found Dr Vaibhav Daga and have been working with him in Mumbai. Basically, I did my pre-season in Kokilaben hospital under him and did not play tennis for two months.
Is Hemant Bendrey the coach who ticks all the boxes for you?
Hemant sir is working with me in a way that I am comfortable with. We work on backhand in practice and sometimes after matches, I will call him up and say my backhand hand was non-existent; where did it go? Having this type of conversation with the coach is very important and I am grateful to have it.
2019-2020, is this the transition we have all been waiting for – from junior talent to senior achiever?
2019 was the toughest year on the tour, physically, because I had not played a complete calendar year. Generally, a player plays 25-30 weeks, but because of my shoulder, I was not able to do that. To go up in the ranking (doubles at 193) and travelling many places helped me. 2019 was a tough, but sweet year for me.
Singles or doubles, do you have a choice?
Whenever I enter a tournament, I want to play both. Singles is my priority, but doubles is something I love. It is fun for me. Suppose you are playing only singles and you lose, then you have an entire week only practicing. If you play doubles, it keeps you in the tournament frame of mind because you have to do your routines properly and are in match format all the time.
Describe the Fed Cup experience.
I did not even think of playing singles. The day before leaving, Hemant sir called me and said you need to be ready to play singles. I went there and Vishal sir (Uppal) was like, I will be playing singles. I was to play the Shuai Zhang, ranked 30th in the world. I watched her playing on TV, I have watched her at the Grand Slams. In my head, I played well but I could not convert break points. The match was something… (Zhang won)… I was very proud of the way I handled it.
For the later matches, it was just confidence and the fact that I was playing for India and the flag on the chest is something I have always wanted. I was able to do that in a way that proved to myself and my parents that hard work has paid off.
Did having Sania Mirza, and Ankita Raina, around help you?
Sania Mirza warmed up with me. The first day I was intimidated. Having her on the team is a huge boost. Ankita works so hard. She is someone like an older sister whom I practice with every day.
Recent doubles titles
October 2019 – $25k Lagos, Nigeria (Partnering with Laura Pigossi (Bra)) bt Sandra Samir (Egy) and Prathana Thombare (Ind) 4-6, 6-4, 10-7
October 2019 – $25k Lagos, Nigeria (Partnering with Laura Pigossi (Bra)) bt Sandra Samir (Egy) and Prathana Thombare (Ind) 6-3, 6-7(3-7), 10-6
November 2019 – $25K Bhopal (Partnering with Emily Webley-Smith) bt Diana Marcinkevica and Valeriya Strakhova (Ukr) 6-4, 7-5
February 2020 – $25k Jodhpur (Partnering with Miyabi Inoue (Jpn)) bt Snehal Mane and Ankita Raina 4-6, 6-4, 10-8