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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Stepping into new shoes is exciting, says Pune’s tennis player Arjun Kadhe

City lad Arjun Kadhe, who recently finished his graduation from Oklahoma State University, is testing his skills in the Challenger tournament on in Pune

pune Updated: Nov 15, 2017 22:48 IST
Ashish Phadnis
Ashish Phadnis
Hindustan Times, Pune
Tennis player Arjun Kadhe at the ongoing ATP Challenger tournament at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Balewadi in Pune
Tennis player Arjun Kadhe at the ongoing ATP Challenger tournament at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Balewadi in Pune(Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)

Pune’s tennis player Arjun Kadhe who had been pursuing studies at Oklahoma State University (OSU) is back into the competitive circuit and believes he has a long way to go before making his presence felt.

Arjun, who went down fighting to higher ranked Ante Pavic of Croatia in the first round of the ongoing KPIT ATP Challenger tournament at Balewadi, was playing at the venue after a gap of four years and was amazed at the changes he observed.

“Before going to college, the level of the Challenger tournament was different. The players have now become quite professional. They travel with personal coachs and fitness trainers. I have played with most of these players in several age group tournaments and now see them playing an aggressive yet matured tennis. The competition level in Indian circuit has tremendously gone up in the last four years,” said Arjun on the sidelines of the tournament.

After returning to India in August this year, Arjun participated in few future series tournaments in Chennai and Coimbatore, followed by three tournaments in Malaysia.

“Before participating in future series, I had set a target to get close to world ranking 750 by the end of the season. But, I have already achieved the target and whatever I will get now is a bonus.

“So it’s time to refresh the target and will try to reach 600 in next couple of months,” said Arjun, who is currently ranked 755 in the world rankings.

While studying at OSU, Arjun and his doubles partner Julian Cash became the first doubles team in Oklahoma State history to achieve the top spot in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Rankings. The pair scripted 34 wins along with prestigious All-America honours at the NCAA Doubles Championship.

Speaking about his experience with OSU, Arjun said, “Playing for OSU was the biggest advantage. I grew physically and mentally as a player. Of course, playing for the University and playing in the Challenger series is totally different. Everyone here is playing on the tour for last 6-7 years, while I am just a new kid on the block.

“So rather than thinking of winning or losing, my focus is to work on my game, stick to my plan and not to think far ahead, he said. Arjun had continued his stint with his previous coach Hemant Bendrey at PYC Hindu Gymkhana and have been taking fitness training from trainer Gaurav Nijohn.

“Currently I am constantly travelling to participate in various tournament. Almost every second week I am playing a tournament, but that’s the beauty of the Challenger tour. I feel like I am stepping into new shoes and I am happy to be part of the cycle. It motivates me to work harder,” he said.

Arjun was always supported by his father Jayant Kadhe. Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) also supports him in every way. “It’s important to get support , I was supported by my

family, MSLTA and Lakshya, a sports NGO. Its’ time to prove your ranking first and then, think about sponsors,” he said.

First Published: Nov 15, 2017 22:47 IST

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