Panipat lad is Chandigarh’s rising tennis star

Five and a half years ago Ajay Yadav was just another kid growing up in the dusty bylanes of Panipat.

Written by Tashi Lundup | Chandigarh | Published: July 11, 2009 2:29 am

Five and a half years ago Ajay Yadav was just another kid growing up in the dusty bylanes of Panipat. But there was something about Ajay that stood out—while other children were busy playing cricket,he enjoyed listening to endless stories about Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupati from his tennis-addicted father.

“My father,an employee in the electricity board,wanted me to get into tennis but my family could not afford the expenses,” says 15-year-old Ajay,who played his first tennis match with a racquet borrowed from his neighbour.

But Ajay came into his own when the Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association (CLTA) gave him a platform to showcase his talent in trials organised under the Chandigarh Academy for Rural Tennis (CHART) programme. “I had finally found my calling. Vijayant Malik,who is also from Panipat,was one of my earliest inspirations,” says Ajay.

Relatively unknown till a year ago,Ajay,currently ranked nine in the Under-16 category,is now a force to reckon with. With plenty of titles in his pocket,Ajay’s presence in the tennis court runs shivers down his opponents’ backs. “I had won one or two titles before this year but 2009 has been very special for me. I have been winning tournaments since the very first day of January,” smiled the pro.

He won the doubles title in National Series in New Delhi (he was one of the finalists in the singles category) and reached the semi-finals of National Series Tournament in Mumbai in both the singles and doubles category. “I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary this year; just concentrated on my game,” says the modest player.

His transformation from an ordinary player to an ace has been noticed by All India Tennis Association (AITA) and the lad is now one of the top contenders for Under-16 India Davis Cup team for 2010.

“Ajay has won a lot of titles this year. His impressive performance has definitely caught the eye of AITA officials. Also,there is Digvijay Singh Mehta who has played in junior Davis Cup before,” said Gajendra Singh,Chief Coordinating Officer of the CLTA. “If these two players keep playing well then I see no reason why they won’t make it to the team,” said an AITA official.

“I am playing well right now and hope my good streak continues. If I make it to the Davis Cup team,I can achieve the number 3 or 4 ranking next year,” said Ajay,who will play in the upcoming ITF Future’s tournament in Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

Chandigarh has the distinction of sending several players like Sunil Sepaiya,Akshay Vishal Rao,Vijayant Malik and Digvijay Singh Mehta in the Davis Cup in the past.

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