Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yuki Bhambri planning to play U.S. Open juniors

For all those who thought tennis prodigy Yuki Bhambri has turned his back on the junior circuit, go eat dirt.

Bhambri told The Indian Tennis Blog he's planning to play the US Open in September.

The Australian Open boys champion and reigning world number one surprised fans by skipping Roland Garros and Wimbledon this year.

An ankle injury did trouble Bhambri just before the French Open, but three days short of his 17th birthday, India's next big tennis hope is hitting balls at a Futures event in sweltering New Delhi instead of cheering compatriots Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza at the All England Club.

There's a method to this madness. Bhambri won back-to-back Futures events in April, helping him reach a career-best men's singles ranking of 650 in June. A win at the F5 event this week would help him zoom up the senior rankings even quicker.

After all, he's hoping to break into the Top-500 by the end of the year.

But what of his ankle injury?

"I think I have fully recovered because the ankle is not bothering me at all," Bhambri told us.

After back-to-back hardcourt Futures in India, the young tennis sensation said he might be headed to Syria to play in a Futures event there.

Hardcourt season beckons for Somdev Devvarman

It's been a quick exit from Wimbledon 2009 for top Indian player Somdev Devvarman -- he lost in the singles qualifiers -- but on the plus side, he did get to play his debut Grand Slam match on the hallowed grounds of the All England Club.

The 24-year-old teamed up with Kevin Anderson to stretch fourth seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles before losing in four sets in Round 1 of the men's doubles.

Though his recent form has been disappointing, especially in the light of his giant-killing run to the Chennai Open final in January, Devvarman is now ranked a career-best 129 in singles.

But his ranking could drop with Devvarman having plenty of points to defend in the coming months, thanks to some good results on the tour last year.

The Indian tennis sensation spoke to The Indian Tennis Blog about his immediate plans.

You reached your highest singles ranking of 129 this month. Any ranking goals for the year?
I have never set any goals for myself as far as rankings go. I just want to keep improving my tennis, the rankings will take care of themselves.

Also, you have a lot of points to defend in the coming months. Any strategy for doing do?
Just go out and win matches.

How was the experience of playing at Wimbledon?
It was great playing at Wimbledon. Would like to be in the singles main draw also next year.

Which tournaments will you be playing in the coming months?
I will be playing in the US hard court tournaments as the tour moves there now.
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With Somdev Devvarman (January 13, 2009 and October 4, 2007)

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