Yuki takes it 'one step at a time'

Yuki takes it 'one step at a time'

Indian keen on finishing season on a right note

Yuki takes it 'one step at a time'

Having overcome a tough phase, Yuki Bhambri is on the cusp of achieving his goal.

A serious elbow injury that denied him a full season last year had a huge impact on his rankings. It was always going to be difficult  - both physically and mentally  - for Yuki, who had to resurrect his journey that once saw him reach a career-best ranking of 88 in 2015.

Staying fit and being consistent were the challenges for the Delhi lad and he seems to have found a way to handle the gruelling nature of the sport. Even as titles were hard to come by, Yuki went deep in Challenger events regularly in the first half of the year and his win against France star Gael Monfils in the Citi Open in Washington DC was easily his biggest result of his career.

From as low as 474 at the start, he has fought his way to be at touching distance of a being within the top 100. And a couple of other highlights in the eventful run include troubling quality players like Kevin Anderson and Denis Shapovalov. "I just feel I have been more confident,"  said Yuki on the eve of his first round game at the Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger event here.

"Since the beginning of the year, I have played a lot of matches and most of them were good matches at the highest level. In most of the tournaments, I have been consistent by reaching the quarterfinals and semifinal. I had a good start in Chennai (Open) and made the qualifying rounds of Australian Open. That set the ball rolling for me."

A good run at the Bengaluru event could hand Yuki a berth in the Australian Open main draw next year. "No not at all," said Yuki, when asked if the golden opportunity is on the back of his mind.

"Every match is difficult. In 20 tournaments from 25 weeks that I have played, I was able to win one Challenger. So it's very difficult. You can't look past the first round. It's a tough event and I have to be focused on every match."

Yuki, whose fitness level has improved under trainer Abhimanyu Singh, said finding the right balance between fitness and skill was the key. "You need to chop and change a lot and need to be aware of what you are doing. Some days, you want to push your tennis and some days you want to push your body. It's all about taking it day by day," he explained.