Pune girl Rutuja Bhosale to make Asian Games tennis debut

Jigar Hindocha
Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Rutuja happy after ‘surprise’ call; will be part of six-member Indian tennis team for Asian Games

Pune: Having started playing on pro circuit in 2017 after completing her college in the United States, Rutuja Bhosale has been impressive throughout. No wonder she earned herself a place in the Indian team for Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games scheduled from August 18 to September 2.

It will be Rutuja’s debut Asian Games and the Pune girl intends to make the call count. She has played college tennis in the United States for four years where she went on a tennis scholarship. Rutuja returned back home and has begun playing pro tennis tournaments with intermediate success.

“I had heard so many things before selection, so I was nervous as well. With no team events and only three to four spots available for the selections there was no surety. When I got the call I was surprised as well as happy,” Rutuja told Sakal Times in an exclusive interview.

Playing college tennis in the US was a completely new experience for Rutuja as the format there is different than the usual knockout system. 
“I have played US college tennis for four years where format is completely different but there it was all about playing for your team and earning points. I have equally enjoyed playing that format and now I am enjoying the pro circuit format which has order of play, rankings and so many things to look forward to,” added Rutuja, who is No 400 on ITF rankings.

Earlier in the year, Rutuja was the part of Indian Fed Cup team but could not play due to shoulder injury. That was her first experience of representing the country.

“I am one such person who loves to be with team. It is completely different atmosphere. When teammates cheer for you it is completely different from when you are playing on the professional circuit.”

Patient approach
Rutuja, who trains with Hemant Bendrey, has been guided to have cautions approach towards pro circuit in the initial days. 

“When I came back my coach and parents told me to be patient. Even If I lost a couple of matches it did not make a difference as it was important to understand the format,” she said.

“It took sometime to adjust the format but I kept on playing and gave little thought about the performance. I went to China to take part in 25K tournaments and then in India I played a lot of tennis. Sometimes results were very good, while on other occasions I was not up to mark. In between I had an injury, which kept me out for four months. Still, I am happy to get my rankings,” added Rutuja, who won 15K tournament in Aurangabad soon after her return to India in June 2017.

Talented Raina
Rutuja has high praise for her friend Ankita Raina with whom she had a very good time at PYC Gymkhana. 

“Anki (Ankita Raina) and me are close friends. Its good to know someone who has worked so hard to achieve such high level. Before Ankita it was only Sania Mirza. I generally don’t have friends on the courts, but with Ankita it is a great help. I can ask her anything at anytime she is always available,” added Rutuja.

Preparations for Asian Games
- Rutuja, who is currently in Pune practicing at PYC Gymkhana, will play a few tournaments aboard to prepare for the Asian Games.
- “Right now nothing is fixed about where will I play. Lets see how visa and other things are worked out, but I intend going abroad to play a few tournaments before leaving for Jakarta,” said Rutuja.

Notable performances:
- June 2017: 15K Aurangabad ITF: Winner
- October 2017: 15K Thailand ITF: Winner 
- July 2017: Egypt 15K ITF: Doubles winner
- April 2018: 25K Uzbekistan ITF: Semi-finalist 
- May 2018: 25K Wuhan ITF: Semi-finalist

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