Yuki Bhambri eyeing return to pro circuit in early 2021

The former India tennis No. 1 has been out of action since October 2018 and wanted to return this year, but his recovery has taken longer than expected.

Former Indian Davis Cup player Yuki Bhambri is aiming to make a successful return to the court in January next year.

Once the highest-ranked Indian tennis player on the ATP circuit, the 28-year-old Bhambri has off the professional circuit since the Antwerp Open in 2018, where he tore a tendon on his right knee.

After having the issue diagnosed by tennis legend Rafael Nadal’s doctor, Yuki Bhambri began his rehabilitation and had planned a comeback before the French Open this year.

A combination of delayed rehabilitation and the COVID-19 crisis have pushed Yuki Bhambri's return 
A combination of delayed rehabilitation and the COVID-19 crisis have pushed Yuki Bhambri's return A combination of delayed rehabilitation and the COVID-19 crisis have pushed Yuki Bhambri's return 

However, a combination of delayed rehabilitation and the COVID-19 crisis have pushed those plans back.

“I was not yet at 100 per cent to play matches week in and week out in March. I still had some pain and need to be sure that my knees are at 100 per cent,” Bhambri told The New Indian Express.

“I’ve made progress since but once you are back, you play around 20-25 weeks a year. So, I will probably target 2021 January to come back.”

Yuki Bhambri, who reached a career-high of 83 in the singles ranking in April 2018, was ranked 100 on the ATP Tour when he was rendered out of action.

He is planning to use his ‘protected rankings’ – where a player can avail of the ranking when he gets injured for future tournaments – to enter the Grand Slams.

“I get 12 tournaments to use them so I will not miss out on playing some of the bigger events. But initially I would have to start out by playing the Challengers to get match rhythm,” he said.

Even though Bhambri will be eligible to play in the main draw of the US Open next month, he does not want to risk travelling to a foreign country.

Yuki Bhambri has already made his ambitions clear – he wants to target the Paris 2024 Olympics to make his Games bow – but he hopes to see a doubles Indian tennis team at the Tokyo Olympics next year.

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