For city-based lawn tennis player Vaishnavi Adkar, the resumption of the Junior French Open 2020 (Roland Garros) wild card tournament in Paris is the silver lining in a year otherwise marred for sports. The 16-year-old will play at the clay courts of Roland Garros on October 2.
“It is a dream come true and I am very excited to play at the Junior French Opens. Although I admit that after the playoffs in March, it has been rather frustrating to not be able to play tennis at all due to the lockdown. But a regimented physical fitness regimen coupled with a focus on mental strength made up for the lost six months,” said Adkar, who has an ITF Junior Ranking of 675.
The number one (U-16) national tennis player has been training under coach Kedar Shah of Bounce Tennis Academy since she was 12 and has had uniform growth at the local, state and national level.
Adkar’s entry to the French Open 2020 (Roland Garros) wild card tournament in Paris was a result of her winning the Roland Garros Junior Wild Card Series 2020 (under 18) held in Delhi in March.
The champions from Brazil, Mexico and India will compete in Paris. A win at the Junior French Open 2020 (Roland Garros) wild card tournament will ensure a junior wild card for the French Open Junior Main Draw. Adkar’s participation will not only give her a learning ground to play in the U-18 category but also add to her ITF points.
“I was hoping to take part in the Junior Fed Cup in April but it was cancelled for this year. I was also looking into four to five national level games,” she added.
Coach Shah said that although the pandemic and the lockdown hindered regular training and practice matches, Adkar and other performing players received a much needed break. “Usually, these players have one tournament after another the entire year. But we gave the players a complete off from tennis for the first half of the lockdown. Then we began online coaching where we stressed on mental strength and physical fitness. We practised yoga and meditation and encouraged them to practice their lateral movement on a 10×10 space. In case of Vaishnavi, fortunately, she also had weights to boost her fitness,” he said.
He said the preparation for the French Open has been good. “We have been working on her fitness a lot and practising on clay courts. But due to the pandemic, she could not play any warm up tournaments. Vaishnavi is a very confident player and has a good aggressive game style that complements international level play, so it took her at least a week to return to the groove of the sport once the academy opened in early August. We were also conducting online classes and training since June, which also helped,” said Shah.
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