Fourteen long months after being forced to push pause on his tennis career after aggravating an injury,Karan Rastogi played his first match since surgery at the DLTA courts in the Capital on Monday. Chipping away at a few cleverly angled volleys and sending down some sharp serves the way of fourth-seeded Dutchmen Peter Lucassen and Jan-Wouter Roep,he played his part in a 6-1 6-4 win with partner Rohan Gajjar,and is looking forward to more.
I felt fantastic out there,I didnt play as well as I wouldve liked,but I did get in a couple of nice points. The main thing is to get as many matches as possible. Im just seeing how it goes,but it definitely felt good to play a match after so long, he told Sportline.
The 22-year-old has been training with the Commonwealth Games probables in New Delhi over the last week,and its been just about a month since he began practicing with a view of returning to the pro circuit.
My back injury kept getting worse so surgery was the only option last year because it forced me to take a break every 2-3 months. It is always better to get it fixed. After the operation,I couldnt sit for six months,I had to either stand or lie down,it was very difficult. It took me a while to get back on court,and earlier I was just volleying a bit,but now Im going to the gym,running and training properly. Ill be playing singles next week in the Futures here,and Im also going to the Nick Bolletieri academy in a few weeks.
The considerable amount of time spent away from tennis was tough to deal with,and the Mumbai player admits time seemed to have slowed to a steady crawl over the last year. I just didnt know what to do,it was very frustrating. There were times when I felt low,but on the positive side,it did give me a sense of perspective and be strong mentally. I spent some time in Australia with my cousins,and my mother stayed with me too. It was nice to have her there and be around my family, said Rastogi,looking back at his father,who had been cheering him on through his match. Apart from making him value the important things in life,Rastogi said his knowledge of movies had probably increased a thousand-fold. I must have watched every movie ever made,including all the ones I never thought Id watch, he laughed.
The busy lives of tennis pros leaves them with hardly any time for much else,and a break is usually welcome. But Rastogi has had his fill of days spent doing nothing,and cant wait to get back to the hectic schedule he had been used to before injury ensured otherwise. He listed out an entry into the probables for the 2010 Games as one of his immediate targets,and though he isnt ready to talk ranking numbers just yet,judging by his confidence,his aims in that area will soon be sky high too.