In tennis, as in any sport, the transition from the junior to senior level is not an easy task. While some make smooth progress, most find the going tough.

For a brief while, Jiri Vesely, the world no. 1 junior and the 2011 Australian Open junior singles and doubles champion, the progress was not as smooth as he would have wished.

Struggle

However, after a minor struggle, he won three Challenger titles from five finals, and has not looked back since. Here, for the 2014 Aircel Chennai Open, Vesely, ranked 85 in the world, spoke about his transition period.

“It was frustrating,” said the 20-year-old Czech, who received the ATP Star of Tomorrow award for being the youngest to break into the 2013 top 100.

Two back-to-back Futures at home in July 2012 restored his confidence.

Moving to the Challengers was the next big step.

In only his second tournament early last year, Vesely clinched the title defeating Simon Greul of Germany, ranked 157 in the world then. He went on to win two more Challenger titles.

“Those victories gave me great confidence,” he said.

Vesely also qualified for the French Open last year. “That was a big thing for me,” he said.

Coach’s role

He is thankful to Jaroslav Machovsky, his second coach after his father, for guiding him in the crucial years. “He was with me during the most important phase of my life (13-19 years). He travelled with me for Grand Slams and several other tournaments. I am really thankful to him,” he said.

Vesely knows the new season will be tough, but he is game for the hard work.

“I want to get into the top 50 as soon as possible. I know it will be even more difficult,” he said.

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