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‘My aim is to play for India'

Kalyan Ashok
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Raring to go: Tennis champ Nikshep at a practice session in Bangalore. — Photo: K. Murali Kumar
Raring to go: Tennis champ Nikshep at a practice session in Bangalore. — Photo: K. Murali Kumar

A local lad who has been making waves in the national junior tennis circuit, is the 13-year old B.R. Nikshep. He has just won back-to-back the Asian Tennis Federation's under-14 titles at Hyderabad and Pune. Now ranked No. 6 in the under-14 category on the national ranking list, he has been training with Subash Das at the Subash Tennis Academy at Central College courts. “He is hardworking and focussed and possesses an all-round game. I don't see any weakness in his technique,” vouches Subash.

Nikshep traces his fledgling career for his readers: “I began playing tennis after watching French Open on TV in 2004. I am grateful for the support of my parents, who spend time and money on my game and of course, my coach, who is my pillar of strength.”

Last season, Nikshep won the national under-12 title and a number of Champion Series titles. Besides singles, he loves playing doubles. “He is playing well at the net now and has improved his serve and volley game, which makes him a natural for doubles,” observes Subash. Nikshep is in Class 9 at Sri Vani High School. He goes to Tennis Excellence on Hennur Main Road for match practice. Though it is a taxing schedule, he enjoys his workouts. His passion for the game is further fuelled by his yearly trips to the Chennai Open. “I love watching the big stars at Chennai ATP Open. I really cherish the time I watched Rafael Nadal there,” says Nikshep.

Off to Mumbai for the national series, Nikshep will follow that up with the Super Series event in Chandigarh. Shobha, his mother, though supportive, admits it is tough on their purse to train Nikshep. His father, Ravi Kumar, is a marketing officer and his younger brother has just started playing the game.

Nikshep dreams of a slot in the Indian Davis Cup team. “That's my aim, play for India,” he says, before sauntering off to practice.

Kalyan Ashok

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