From a small village to attaining big dreams – Sandesh Kurale, the National Junior (U-18) champ

Celebrations have been underway within the Kurale family in a small village named Channekuppi at district Kolhapur on Wednesday. Apart from his birthday, Sandesh Kurale has his current nationwide win on the National Junior Tennis Championship (U-18) as an added cause to make merry together with his household and folks of his village. His unmatched talent of excellent serves earned him the nickname ‘Big Server’ on the nationwide match held in Indore final week. Kurale’s constant efficiency, particularly on the remaining match on April 3 and years of onerous work lastly got here to fruition.

While the nationwide win provides a feather to Kurale’s cap, the 18-year-old has huge goals for himself — to win a gold on the Olympics and to play towards his idol, Roger Federer. So far, a few of his notable singles’ achievements are winner on the AITA CS (U-18) held at Panchgani in 2019, AITA CS-7 (U-16) and AITA CS-7 (U-18) win at Jalandhar in 2019, successful the Sangli and Kolhapur open held between late 2019 and early 2020. Post-lockdown, Kurale managed to achieve the semi-finals on the AITA Men’s in November 2020 in Sonepat and quarters on the identical titular match held in December 2020 there.

Kurale has been coaching beneath brothers Adarsh Desai and Manal Desai, on the Arshad Desai Tennis Academy in Kolhapur. Kurale and his coaches open up about his profession in tennis, the impact of the pandemic, his current tournaments and his plans for the long run,

How all of it started

Kurale’s father, Dattatray Shankar Kurale who operates a tea store in Gadhinglaj initially enrolled him in athletics. Although he carried out effectively, his father discovered it higher to direct him right into a single occasion sport. Kurale additionally tried his hand at chess and swimming, however nothing appeared to suit proper for him.

“It was tennis that attracted me and I was about eight or nine when I began with tennis. I just enjoy the footwork, hitting the ball and delivering serves,” stated Kurale.

“I used to watch professional tennis matches on television and Sandesh picked up the sport. I made a small court in the vacant plot space near our farm. We practiced our drills there over the week, but as we did not have professional spaces in our village, I used to take him to Kolhapur by bus over the weekends, which is about 78 kilometres away from our village. I personally feel a player should be given at least ten years to develop their skills and prove their worth in the sport. A family alone cannot produce a player who can get a gold medal, as we too are limited somewhere,” stated Kurale’s father.

While Kurale has been coaching at tennis courts of Kolhapur District Lawn Tennis Association since 2011 beneath numerous coaches, it was solely 5 years later that Kurale met his coach Adarsh Desai, who returned to his hometown after his stint at Aurangabad.

“The fact that neither I nor my brother, Manal could attain much in our tennis careers, behaves as a driving force for the efforts we take for Sandesh. We never had enough facilities or opportunities, which gave us a better understanding of what the player will require,” stated Adarsh.

“I used to spend a lot of time in transit which used to tire me out. My coach, Adarsh sir, then suggested that I stay with him in Kolhapur so that I could spend more time on the courts. When I had begun with tennis, I had a very basic serve style. Coach taught me the various services. Once I mastered the platform serves, he then introduced the pinpoint serve. The latter is more advantageous for my overall game,” stated Kurale.

Pandemic impact, post-lockdown tournaments and the nationals

“During the lockdown, I was with Adarsh and Manal sir at their residence. While the practice for tennis began once the courts reopened, we worked on my physical and mental fitness and followed a balanced nutritional diet plan. We did our exercises and meditation in the terrace space. My endurance has increased as well as my confidence in myself as a player has bettered,” stated Kurale.

“We exploited the time we got during the lockdown by working on his fitness and also developed his mental strength extensively. Another benefit we had during the time was that with his parents were away, there was limited input from them, while they continued to give the support from afar,” stated Adarsh.

“Sandesh developed his services under me and a perfect serve is a benefactory asset for a tennis player. I am continuing to work on his forehand and service while with Adarsh he works on his backhand,” stated Manal.

In his debut efficiency as a wild card entrant at the15k Men’s ITF in Pune, Kurale couldn’t qualify attributable to underlying accidents endured in matches in Sonepat. “I was a little injured and hence could not give my best. I missed out on a chance given by MSLTA to go forward in the tournament,” he stated.

But he didn’t let the loss deter him. In reality, he channelled his power into successful the National Juniors (U-18) match. “The opponent in the semi-final never missed a ball and I had to make more efforts to break him. Moreover, in the finals, my opponent, who also is an exceptional player tried to tire me out, but I provoked him to make more easy errors,” stated Kurale. Manal added that the benefit Kurale had through the nationals was his total health and his serve, which is his weapon.

Long time period targets

“I need to play extra ITF Men’s and likewise the Challenger tournaments. From there, I additionally need to play on the ATP tournaments. But my final objective is to clinch a gold on the Olympics

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