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Aditya Jagtap and his comeback

Aditya Jagtap.  

Aditya Jagtap (27) achieved a career-high PSA ranking of 77 in September this year. He’s currently ranked 83 and is bound to go up, having reached the semifinal in the Chennai leg of the HCL-SRFI India squash tour (PSA Challenger tour).

According to him, it was his first $20k semifinal. “This is my third tournament of the season. And this season has just started. So, it’s been going good so far. One $10k final, one $30k quarterfinal, and one $20k semifinal. It’s been like a good, positive start.

“My target by the end of the year is to reach, like, the top-60 or -55, so that I get to play bigger tournaments, like the $100k events, and battle it out with the top players,” he said after losing the semifinal to Ivan Yuen of Malaysia.

The thing is, this is only his second season on the PSA world tour since making his comeback to squash. What he’s been able and aims to do become especially interesting, considering he’d quit squash and worked for a corporate firm for two years before his U.S. visa expired.

Aditya attended a boarding school in England, and graduated from the Cornell University in New York. He’s kept playing school and university level squash all along, before taking up the job.

Good money

“It was good money. But I wasn’t really happy. I really missed the daily grind of it — waking up, training... the physical and mental challenge. So, leaving (the job) wasn’t the hard part. Because I was sort of really bored of the 9 (a.m.) - 6 (p.m.) job. So, I wanted to do something different.

“The tough part was convincing myself that I’m good enough to go again.”

He’d even been the u-19 boys’ National No. 1, having trained and played with players like Ali Farag (World No. 1), Mohamed El Shorbagy (World No. 2) and Karim Abdel Gawad (World No. 4).

“These guys for the past six to seven years, all they’ve been doing is playing squash. I felt I was very far behind. So, I felt I have to work hard and try catch up.”

Back to alma mater

After deciding to restart, he’s gone back to his alma mater Cornell University to be helped by the two-time World Open champion David Palmer who had been the head coach at the University then. “He, sort of, guided me and got me restarted.”

Now, he’s been training at the Barcelona Global Squash (BGS) Academy, where he says he’s benefiting from hitting with a few top players there. Whenever he plays tournaments in the U.S., he’s been consulting Palmer.

“I just keep setting myself targets. I’ve got into the top-100 now. Now, over the next year, I have to try and achieve my next target of getting into the top-60, or -55. I have to be realistic.”

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 12:01:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/aditya-jagtap-and-his-comeback/article29728834.ece

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