Tennis | Pranjala making the most of Australia sojourn

Y. Pranjala is in Australia under lockdown, but using the time to regain physical fitness and iron out health issues, with the full attention of ATP Director of Medical Services Paul Ness.

“I arrived in Australia on February 23, on a three-month visa. The visa expired on May 13, and the process of extending it is on,” said Pranjala in an Instagram conversation with the tennis fraternity.

Hands-on training

“Paul has 23 years of experience at the Australian Open, and working with top players. He has put no restrictions on my movements. He works out with me every day, even beats me in the sprints. It is a lot of fun. He picks me up from my place and drops me back,” said Pranjala, quite grateful to Ness and his wife Stacey.

Pranjala even had a memorable birthday this year despite being away from home, thanks to Stacey.

Hitting against the wall to begin with, Pranjala later found a friend from Hyderabad studying in Melbourne — Himakesh Sankineni — to practise on a private court.

Pranjala also expressed her gratitude to GoSports Foundation for funding her Australian visit and for getting her treated by one of the best physiotherapists in the world.

Winning back-to-back singles titles in $25,000 ITF women’s tournaments in Lagos in 2018 has been the high point of her career so far, and Pranjala thanked coach Stephen Koon for her progress — physically, technically and mentally.

Good advice

“I started thinking better on court. I begged him to let me play doubles, but he said no. I am glad I listened to him,” said Pranjala, who rose to a career-best rank of 265.

For the record, she was ranked No. 15 among juniors, won the Asian junior title and also made the doubles quarterfinals of junior Grand Slams in Melbourne and Paris.

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