Shrivalli Bhamidipaty jumps from hospital bed to tennis court in ITF Indore final | Tennis News - Hindustan Times
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Shrivalli Bhamidipaty jumps from hospital bed to tennis court in ITF Indore final

ByRutvick Mehta
Mar 17, 2024 11:10 PM IST

Drained of all energy, the India women's No.5 lost the title clash but still felt like a winner after not giving up without a fight.

At around 9am on Sunday as she was being discharged from a hospital in Indore, India women's No. 5 tennis pro Shrivalli Bhamidipaty had a chat over phone with coach Vishal Uppal. "I asked her how are you feeling. She said I'm feeling terrible," Uppal said. "I then asked her what are you thinking. She said I'm thinking how can I beat Dalila (Jakupovic)."

India women's No.5 lost the title clash but still felt like a winner after not giving up without a fight
India women's No.5 lost the title clash but still felt like a winner after not giving up without a fight

At 10.30am, Shrivalli stood across Jakupovic to play the singles final of the ITF women's event in Indore after spending the night in hospital with high fever, food poisoning and heat stroke. She lost 6-3, 6-2 to the Slovenian second seed but after being on multiple IV drips, antibiotics and paracetamol all night, turning up and finishing the match showed something beyond the result for Uppal.

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"The fact that she stepped on the court told me that she is a fighter and is hungry in the mind," the former Davis Cupper and Fed Cup captain said.

"I wanted to give it a shot, and for her (Jakupovic) to earn the win," Shrivalli said.

Withdrawing would perhaps have been the easier option (one that has been taken countless times on the pro tour), but not once did Shrivalli entertain the thought.

"Throughout the night, I was stressed about not being able to play the final, but I didn't want to not turn up. I thought about the organisers who were so supportive, the spectators and the little girls who would see me play," she said.

The 22-year-old, who had reached the second round of the WTA Mumbai Open last month as a qualifier stunning world No.94 Nao Hibino, strung a fine run in Indore too. Ranked 486, she took down top seed Irina Bara (ranked 175), fifth seed Justina Mikulskyte (249), whom she beat 6-0, 6-0, and seventh seed Polina Latcenko (301) to march into the final. She also won the doubles title partnering Vaidehi Chaudhari.

It was after the doubles final on Saturday that Shrivalli could barely stand. She had felt sick for a couple of days, 103F temperature, vomitting and diarrhoea after playing most of her matches in the afternoons. All of which got worse on Saturday evening.

"She was also shivering quite a bit, so we decided to get her admitted to a hospital," her father BRN Prasad said.

The bottles of drips through the night infused some fluids back into her system even as antibiotics took care of the fever. Shrivalli woke up deciding to step on court against the world No.213, but apart from the serves and returns, her on-court movement was hardly the same. She had nine break point opportunities but could convert just one.

“I couldn’t move much on the court. My body had lost a lot of fluids and it was also heavy from all the medication. I just felt a lot weaker," she said.

Stronger in the mind now than before, Shrivalli will rise to a career-high ranking on Monday after a solid week and promising few tournaments. “The last few months have added to my belief. And I’m happy that I didn’t give up today,” she said.

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