January 7, 2009 2:56:26 am
In town for ITF Grade III tournament,Kyra Shroff gets up,close and personal…
Three years ago,as a wild card entrant at the WTA tour in Kolkata,young Kyra Shroff wilted under pressure to a 0-6,0-6 defeat. Transfixed by the defeat,she returned to the Stadium only to watch Australian Lyetton Hewitt in action on television late that night. He is a fighter and I admire him totally, says Shroff,the current national junior champion taking part in the ITF Grade III tournament at CLTA,Sector 10.
In the last three years,Shroff,as it turned out had to fight it out with an ankle and hamstring injury which kept her at bay for more than four months before she stormed into her first ITF junior final in the same city in January 2007. I still remember the win and loss in Kolkata. WTA event was a learning experience for me as I got a chance to interact with so many international stars while the junior win gave me enough confidence, feels Shroff,who is a Class XI student of St Annes School,Mumbai,and shifted base from Mumbai to Bangalore to train in the Mahesh Bhupathi Training Academy.
The last few years have seen 16-year-old Shroff climbing up the ladder in the junior circuit and being Indias top ranked junior tennis player. All this for someone who was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes when she was just 12,and has been on insulin since then,four times a day. But the youngster is quick to put the talk about diabetes aside Right now I am only concentrating on my game. I will be playing in the ITF Grade I tournament in Australia before I play in the junior Australian Open. A fine performance will give me the required impetus and will set the path for a busy year for me. I took a two-week break prior to this tournament and I am all set to go, says Shroff,who started playing tennis at the age of seven at Woodhouse Gymkhana in Mumbai.
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Shroff is being accompanied by her coach Sandeep Kirtane in the ITF tournament and still cherishes her fine performance in the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune last year,where she fetched two silver medals. I guess that is my best performance so far. Although I lost to Heather Watson of Great Britain,I will cherish the silver medal forever, says Shroff. Her coach though feels that she has got a lot of work to do and a long path lies ahead. We are working on her second serve. She has all the strokes,but many times she does not come up with a good second serve which is vital for future success, feels Kirtane.
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