Yuki Bhambri had beaten India’s best players Ramkumar Ramanathan and Prajnesh Gunneswaran in March 2021 in Dubai, and that was the last time he played singles on the professional Tour.
Even though he has played only doubles, winning two ITF titles with Saketh Myneni in Lucknow and Gurugram since then, the 29-year-old Yuki said that he had done his best to be ready for his favourite Grand Slam, Australian Open.
He had won the junior title in Melbourne in 2009 and was the No.1 junior in the world. “I feel good, stepping on the court. I have happy memories from this Slam. Hope it helps my confidence and serves me well,” Yuki, who will be playing the 248th ranked Joao Domingues of Portugal in the first qualifying round, said in a media interaction on Sunday.
Yuki had played all the four Grand Slams in 2018 and reached a career-best rank of 83, but a recurring knee injury kept him out of the circuit repeatedly.
“I have done it multiple times in the past. I am looking forward to it. I enjoy playing and that has kept me motivated. I have missed being part of the whole Tour. Happy to compete again. It will be one match at a time,” said Yuki who had prepared by playing the ATP event in Melbourne with Michael Venus of New Zealand.
Yuki lauded Ramkumar Ramanathan and Rohan Bopanna for winning the doubles title in Adelaide and said that it was a ‘’great start’’ for Indian tennis, as Sasikumar Mukund had also made the Challenger final.
When queried about the system not producing much Indian tennis champions, Yuki said that it was an individual effort by the players and that the administrators should be asked the question.
Yuki said that he was looking forward to playing in the Pune ATP event and the Challengers in Bengaluru, apart from Davis Cup. ‘’It will be a good opportunity, if we play to potential on grass, as the teams are balanced. If I get selected, I can help India pull through,” said Yuki, about beating Belgium in the next Davis Cup tie scheduled on grass at the Gymkhana Club in Delhi in March.
He was sharp in adding that the whole Novak Djokovic episode was ‘’unfortunate’’ and that there could have been more clarity.