Dubai: UAE-based teenager Garv Bahl is confident of a sustained tennis career after picking up his first ranking points following heartening performances over the past few weeks.
The 13-year-old Bahl, a student at former Tunisian Davis Cupper Essam Al Jalali’s Future Pro Tennis Academy, participated in four Grade 5 ITF junior tournaments in Kenya and Jordan earlier this month.
Bahl’s debut at the ITF Nairobi Junior Open 1 in Kenya ended in the opening round of the qualifiers. But the Indian youngster did well at the second tournament at the same venue the following week while progressing through the qualifiers before losing in the second round.
A week later in Amman, Bahl once again came through the qualifying rounds and lost in his first match of the main competition. However, it was his run to the quarter-finals earlier this week that turned a few heads.
Playing on the Al Hussain Sport City tennis courts in the Amman International Tournament 2, Bahl passed the three rounds of qualifying before notching up a convincing three-set win against Egypt’s Omar Mursi and then a straight-sets 6-4, 6-2 result against a much older sixth-seeded Arjun Mariyappa from the US.
But he ran into second seed and local favourite Abdullah Shelbayh — also the champion from the previous week — who had to dig in deep for a 7-5, 7-5 win against the 13-year-old Dubai boy in their quarter-finals late on Wednesday.
“I know where I stand in my game and what I need to do to become a professional player,” Bahl told Gulf News on his return from Amman, yesterday.
“This has truly been such a huge experience for me. Getting a taste against juniors from around the world is an experience that can never be matched. I feel I am ready to do what the professionals do,” he added.
Perhaps, the even bigger takeaway from being four weeks away on tour is that of the confidence gained. “No doubt,” he said.
“I’ve just about started. At the moment I may be pretty far away from my goal, but the thought that I am on the right track gives me a lot of confidence for the future,” Bahl added.
On November 14, Bahl will turn 14. He realises the importance of not straying off the course in the near future. “By 16, I need to be seen at Grade 3 and Grade 2 tournaments so that I can climb up the rankings,” he said.
“At the moment, I know I have to put in all efforts to remain focus on my goal. I am ready to give my best and work hard towards achieving for the future,” Bahl stressed.