Tennis

Enterprising tennis players find space to train amidst lockdown

Sharpening her skills: Zeel Desai is engaged in a rally with father Mehul.

Sharpening her skills: Zeel Desai is engaged in a rally with father Mehul.  

Full marks to the tennis fraternity for adapting to the situation

There is a saree drying over a clothesline which serves as the net. Yuki Bhambri volleys and jumps up for an imaginary overhead smash. The drill continues for a few minutes as Prateek Bhambri, a former National junior champion who coaches sister Prerna Bhambri, helps in Yuki’s training by throwing balls from a bucket.

Also read: Former champions saddened but appreciate decision to cancel Wimbledon 2020

If that is the video doing the rounds on social media, cut to Ahmedabad, where Zeel Desai has her father Mehul doing the job of ball-thrower.

In front of her home, over a garden bench that serves as the net, Zeel keeps hitting forehands and backhands. She also uses the terrace to hone her skills, using the wall as a net.

Mehul said he was happy to keep his daughter occupied as she was getting bored at home.

“I thought it could just freshen her up a bit, having a racquet in her hands. She also does fitness routines for an hour daily. Staying at home can control the number of coronavirus cases,” he said.

Quick and proactive

Australian coach Todd Clark, who has been guiding Zeel at the Ahmedabad Racquet Academy (ARA), said: “Even though a lockdown is inconvenient in India, the government’s action has been quick and proactive.

“We have created an ARA WhatsApp group. Daily, we provide players fitness programmes and mental challenges which they have to complete.

“Though everyone is at home, we are still creating a competitive atmosphere,” revealed Clark, who is based in Ahmedabad.

Todd and Zeel were in Tunisia when the ITF cancelled the tournament, forcing everyone to fly home before the borders were sealed.

Healthy trend

With the International Tennis Federation (ITF) announcing that there would be no play till July 8, this is a healthy trend as the players are utilising the time on hand instead of worrying about things beyond their control.

Many videos of enterprising tennis players, finding the space to stay healthy and active during the lockdown, are doing the rounds. In the Capital, coaches Sachin Singh and Chandra Bhushan have been sharing videos of their trainees doing physical training, yoga and wall practice.

The tennis fraternity deserves full marks for adapting to the situation and making the best use of it.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 12:04:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/enterprising-players-find-space-to-train/article31240048.ece

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