‘Sport has no textbook’: Yuki Bhambri pleased about doubles switch | Tennis News

For Yuki BhambriGoing from singles to doubles was the most sensible decision he could have made and it wouldn’t change anything in his career, even if he had the hindsight.
Bhambri, former Australian Open junior champion and world number one junior. 1, has gradually transitioned to doubles over the past two seasons in which he has won nine titles in tandem with Saketh Myneni.
Seven of them came in 2022 and five of them in the Challengers.
“It’s been good. It was a bit different this season, I wasn’t used to playing doubles more.
It was difficult at times but rewarding in its own way, especially towards the end of the season when we were able to win a few races and move up the rankings,” Bhambri said in a phone interview.
“It’s been both a learning (an experience) and a challenge. We’re looking forward to hopefully going to other ATP events and building on that because that’s where you want to play – the great events.”
Bhambri’s work with injuries and his successful comebacks are well documented. In 2015, after slipping out of the top 400 due to injury, he came back strong to enter the top 100 in October and finished the year at 93.
The following year, a tennis elbow injury hampered his progress. In 2017 he scalped French maverick Gael Monfils in Washington, and in Indian Wells in 2018 – qualifying for the main draw – toppled then world number one. 12 Lucas Pouille for the biggest victory of his career.
He was ranked career No. 83 in April of that year before a right knee injury ended his singles dreams.
Is there anything he could have done differently to extend his single career?
“I actually thought about it a lot. Over the past few years I’ve spoken to a lot of coaches and coaches and nothing really comes to mind,” the 30-year-old said.
“There’s really nothing I could have changed or done differently, where I would have a different result.
“Whenever I was playing and training, my goal was always to improve. That’s what I always focused on and that’s why I had a lot of success too.
“And if I do get injured, I’ll do my best to make sure I work with it and get better when I get back.
“There are always different things you can keep trying, but the sport is such, there is no manual. A person can hit a one-handed backhand or a two-handed backhand and get the same results.
“So there’s nothing for me that really stands out that I’m going to change. I wouldn’t even know what to change, coming back in my career.
“What I know is what I’ve done, what I’ve learned from various coaches, trainers and physios.”
Bhambri, however, tasted doubles success early on. His first title came 11 years ago, at the age of 19, in an ITF Futures in Nigeria with VM Ranjeet. He followed it with at least one Challenger crown a year for the next five years – the icing on the cake being success with the Grand Slam champion Mahesh Bhupathi in his hometown in 2016.
“I knew deep down that at some point, when singles isn’t possible, I’d like to play because I enjoyed playing doubles. And the few successes I’ve had, I’ve enjoyed it,” he said.
“But I think maybe (it happened) a few years earlier than I would have liked. It’s no secret that I really struggled (with injuries) throughout of my career.
“So I think it made sense. Once I knew the recovery was getting tough, I knew (I had to) transition into it.”
So the challenge was more on the mental side than on the skill side.
“On the pitch it’s not much different. But, mentally, going there before the doubles was just kind of an extension, an extra means of training, maybe a bit of extra income sometimes with the bigger events.
“But obviously the last six or seven months has really been done as a full-time profession. So mentally there’s just a lot more pressure (like) how it would be in singles – (to) improve and improve classification .”
He cited two reasons as key to his successful partnership with Myneni: their playing styles “balanced out” and the timing of them “coming together”.
“Our styles of play complement each other. He’s a big guy who relies a lot on power. And I’m someone who relies a lot more on skill. I don’t have that 220 kilometer serve. I have a lot more variation, even in my groundstrokes. So it kind of balances out nicely,” he said.
“What he can do, what he does well, covers my domain and what I can do well kind of covers his weaknesses. It kind of balances out everyone’s strengths and weaknesses.
“And also obviously we both come together realizing that this is a partnership that can continue and that we can succeed. A common goal also helps.”
Bhambri said one of his wishes would be to partner with Rohan Bopanna.
“I’ve seen him a lot up close at Davis Cup events. So if an opportunity arises, he’s someone I’d definitely like to play with,” he said.
“In the past, it would have been good to play with Leander (Paes). I had the chance to play with Mahesh in a Challenger, so it would have been good to complete the trio of doubles mainstays.”


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