ONE OF THE primary goals of the Champions Tennis League (CTL) is to promote tennis at the grass root levels and present prodigious, upcoming talents in India the opportunity to play alongside the legends of the game. Mihika Yadav is one of the biggest beneficiaries of this wonderful initiative and the Mumbai girl is now a part of the Mumbai Tennis Masters for the second edition of the CTL.
The 16 year old has graduated through the ranks of state-level tennis, featured regularly in the All India Tennis Association (AITA) tournaments and also emerged victorious in the nationals (U-16) category in 2014. In the same year, Yadav also produced consistent results in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) juniors circuit and went on to play the 2015 French Open and US Open qualifiers in the juniors category.
Just minutes before the opening game between Mumbai Tennis Masters and Punjab Marshalls, Yadav, spoke to TFG about her excitement and dream of playing alongside the greats of the game.
“I am honoured. It’s a privilege to be a part of the CTL. Very few people get a chance to be a part of such a great tournament, I am lucky to be a part of it. I think this is a great exposure for us; we always used to wonder about the lifestyle of the pros, their routine, and now, we are getting to hit balls with them. Now we don’t have to wait to become a pro to know how to deal in the pro circuit. Absolutely overwhelmed.”
Further explaining her thoughts on how she got the opportunity and the call from CTL, Yadav said:
“I am one of the top six juniors in the country (under 16). And, I got an email from the CTL management about my participation.”
It is difficult for her to choose a favourite player from all the stars and legends in the CTL.
“It’s a tough question for me actually; they are all legends of the game, whether it is Richard Krajicek, our captain, or Flavia Pennetta. So it’s a very tough choice, but in my team, I really admire Pennetta on how she won the singles Grand Slam despite being a doubles expert.”
Currently ranked World no. 71 in the ITF juniors, Yadav also expressed her views on the super-point and is keen on adding value to her franchise.
“Hopefully, I am precise and lucky enough to hit the target and bring some value to my team by accumulating a few super-points. I want to achieve 100% accuracy and as we know these super-points are very crucial in a format like this.”
Yadav, might be playing her biggest tournament till date, but never got carried away by the thought of playing a tournament of such magnitude. The Tennis Masters’ junior always focused on the process and has believed in enjoying the journey.
“I never had expectations, I love the game, it’s my passion and I keep enjoying it. My parents have supported me along the way and they have been instrumental in helping me reach where I am today.”
Before stepping onto the court for the super-point, Yadav, in high spirits, concluded by revealing her plans for 2016.
“I want to make my country proud. I am going to be focusing on playing more ITF tournaments. I also want to play the junior Grand Slams next year and getting into the main draw of Slam would be just amazing.”