New Indian Kid on the Horizon of World Tennis

Sandeep kapilContributor IMay 29, 2009

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 31:  Yuki Bhambri of India celebrates winning a point in his junior boys final match against Alexandros-Ferdinandos Georgoudas of Germany during day thirteen of the 2009 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 31, 2009 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images)

History of Indian tennis comes a long way from Vijay Amritraj, Ramnathan Krishnan, Leander Paes, and Mahesh Bhupathi.

Yuki is the new kid on the Indian Tennis Courts entered world arena last year. Yuki has a current junior ranking of No. 1 in the world as of February 2, 2009 and has consistently been in the top 20 since the beginning of 2008.

He started tennis at the early age of six, and his steadfast determination has helped him win several tournaments across the world. Some prestigious titles that he has won include: Asian Juniors Championship at Bangkok, Asian Championship at Colombo, National Series (Under 14), National Championship (Under 16) at Delhi, Nike Juniors at Delhi and Adidas Nationals at Chennai.

Success came at a young age for Yuki, in 2005 at the age of 12, he was a part of the Indian Team that came 7th in the World Youth Quarter Finals at Melbourne and in 2006 he was named the player of the month (November) by the Asian Tennis Federation.

Each of his achievements goes on to show the credibility and potential he possesses to become India's next Ram Nathan Krishnan. Within a year's time, his ranking jumped from No. 142 (2007) to No.5 (2008). In 2007 he was ranked No.1 (under 16) and No.3 (under 18) in 2007 according to the AITA rankings (Indian National Rankings). The same year he was crowned the Asia-Oceania Junior Tennis Champion, in both singles and doubles.

Yuki began 2008 on a high note, reaching the semi-finals of the Australian open where he lost to the eventual winner and current No.2 Bernard Tomic of Australia. After his win in the Orange Bowl, Yuki obtained a wild card in the Sony Ericsson Open qualifying draw; however, IMG, the host of the tournament, decided to upgrade Yuki to receive a spot in the main draw of the tournament, where he competed a draw including all the top professionals such as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic.

He also obtained a wild card spot in the doubles main draw pairing with Harsh Mankad as well as a wild card spot in the singles qualifying draw in the Chennai Open where he lost to top college player and compatriot Sanam Singh, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.

Yuki also obtained a wild card position for the 2010 Australian Open qualifying draw as an additional reward for his win at the 2009 Junior Australian Open. Given his success, Yuki was offered a position of being on the Indian Davis Cup Team, but declined so he could continue practicing in the US to prepare for upcoming the Sony Ericsson Open.

In the 2009 Sony Ericsson Open, Yuki lost to top 100 player, Diego Junqueira 6-4, 6-3 in the first round. Following his showing at the Sony Ericsson, Yuki played in an ITF Futures Event in New Delhi, India, where he won the tournament becoming the youngest Indian to win a futures event; Yuki continued this winning streak by capturing the title of the following futures event held in the same venue.

However as the year progressed Yuki made a poor outing on clay, making a second round exit from the Belgian International Junior Championship (Beaten by Serb Llija Vucic). He also lost in the first round of the French Open 2008 to French player Guillaune Rufin.

We have seen lot many players from India who have come and gone but couldn’t find great impact in world tennis. Vijay Amritraj reached till Quarterfinal of Wimbledon and Australian open. Ramnathan Krishnan reached till semi-final of Wimbledon open 1960.

Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi had done good contribution to Indian tennis by winning many double & mixed Grand Slam title, but both couldn’t make any significant contribution for Indian tennis in single events. Leander and Mahesh are old and they may retire in next 2-3 years.

If we look at other young brigade, Sania seems to have came and gone. Somdev, Prakash Amritraj couldn’t make any impact until now.

All eyes are on Yuki Bhambri Will he be the diamond in the necklace of Indian tennis. Will he be able to take the emotional and physiological pressure of Indian audience?

All big world of International tennis is waiting to see great player to come from India and make the impact in world tennis. Will this happen?  Is Yuki the one whom we are looking for? For this question to be answered we have to wait and watch.