Dubai: Rutuja Bhosale, a key member of the Indian squad busy in their Fed Cup campaign here, wants to give herself a birthday present by taking them home into next month’s play-offs.
With three wins from four outings till the penultimate day on Friday, Bhosale has been one of the silent performers as India are on the threshold of grabbing the second spot behind unbeaten China for the Fed Cup play-offs to be held on April 17-18.
Bhosale, who was born in the city of Shrirampur in the Ahmadnagar district of Maharashtra, started off with an opening day loss against a star-studded China. The youngster, who will turn 24 on March 27, then raised her game and won the next three ties to keep India in the fray with a 3-1 win/loss record.
First playing for India as a 16-year-old in 2012, Bhosale has this week improved her individual win-loss record to 8-5, thanks to stretched three-set wins over Akgul Amanmuradova (Uzbekistan) and Ya Yi Yang (Chinese Taipei) and a straight result against Su Jeong Jang (South Korea).
“I had to dig in real deep and give off my best to ensure we keep ourselves in the fray for the play-offs spot. Recovery has been the toughest thing to handle so far, but I believe that this week will go a long way in defining my tennis path for the future,” Bhosale told Gulf News, late on Friday.
“My body was so sore and I was just letting myself go for every ball with the only thought of a win on my mind. A win from me means there is less pressure on the team and the second singles player can go in more comfortable. That said, this week will help me in more ways than one to stay focused on the circuit,” she added.
With her parents shifting to Pune, Bhosale grew up learning the basics of the sport from the time she was four years old. By 2012 – the same year she made her Fed Cup debut – Bhosale also achieved her highest junior ranking of world No.55. But after that academics beckoned and she graduated with a degree in Business Studies specialising in Human Resources from the Texas A&M University.
Perhaps among the few educated ones on the women’s Tour, Bhosale feels academics does not really come handy in her sport. “Honestly, I feel tennis is a sport for dumb people,” she said in zest.
“So many of my coaches over the years have told me that the more I think or over-think on court, the more the game goes for a toss in different directions. It really doesn’t matter how much one is educated as tennis cannot be played with the mind. One has to play with one’s heart,” Bhosale said.
After her return from the US, Bhosale re-joined the Hemant Bendrey Tennis Academy (HBTA) at the PYC Gymkhana in Pune. “I’ve not managed to have a full season on Tour, largely due to my injuries,” she mulled.
“The foremost goal for me at this moment is to ensure I remain healthy and well so that I can use the confidence from this week to play a full calendar. If that does happen, then I can safely pursue my goals of ending the year within the top-150 in the singles and top-100 in the doubles,” she added.
“But for the moment, all I want is that India gets a spot in the play-offs. That would be my birthday present in advance,” Bhosale signed off.