Sport

Happy coach Rastogi recounts journey

Coach M. Balachandran and Karan Rastogi.

Coach M. Balachandran and Karan Rastogi.  

Says training stints at BAT (Chennai), IMG (Florida) helped

When Karan Rastogi was world No. 4 junior in 2004, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic had no great ranking to speak of.

Gael Monfils, who had beaten Karan in the semifinals of Australian Open juniors, was World No. 1 that year, having won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon junior titles. Andy Murray was World No. 2 junior and had won the US Open.

“I remember I was drawn to play Djokovic in the first round of the Australian Open. Later, they changed the draw as there was a mistake,” recalled the 33-year-old Karan, who is happily coaching the Hong Kong Davis Cup and Fed Cup teams.

“It took a while to gain their trust, as they had not seen me,” he said about coaching in another country.

Having quit the game owing to a back injury which did not go away even after surgery, Karan took to coaching in 2012.

Permanent residency

“After coaching a few players for about six months in Mumbai, I came to Hong Kong on a 10-month contract. It is already eight years, and I have got a permanent residency here,” said Karan, in an Instagram chat with coach M. Balachandran.

Karan had the best of support from his parents, and had training stints in BAT in Chennai, apart from the IMG Academy in Florida where he used to train with the likes of Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova at the Nick Bollettieri Centre.

Fresh memory

The memory was fresh about sharing room with Kei Nishikori at the IMG Centre, and how the Japanese was already having a sponsor, and a physio to help him. “Nishikori was three years younger to me. He was special, so quick and agile,” said Karan. The stint in Florida also opened the eyes of Karan about the need for higher levels of physical fitness.

Acknowledging his parents’ role, Karan said, “the sacrifice of my mom and dad, you can’t put in words. All credit to them.”

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 4:29:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/happy-coach-rastogi-recounts-journey/article31719402.ece

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