For 30-year-old Prajnesh Gunneswaran, success was something that took years of constant striving before it arrived.
The late-blooming Indian tennis star had to learn the nuances of the game on his own, which is why he makes sure he always makes time for a promising young player.
“People say that the best way to learn is to be a teacher. I have seen that the more I help players around me, the more I learn,” the Indian tennis ace stated in a webinar organized by the All India Tennis Association (AITA).
“Another reason I like to help is that I feel I learnt some things the hard way. I did not have the people to correct certain things, it took me six months or losing 10 matches to learn things about myself.”
Giving tips to an up and coming youngster while still having an active career helps them advance quicker and there may be a stage where they pick up the requisite skills to beat their mentor. However, Prajnesh Gunneswaran does not mind that one bit.
“In that moment, I know I can find it within myself to be a fighter and figure out a way to get past them,” he pointed out.
“I am not the sort of person who will stop helping them or give them the wrong tips, I believe in healthy competition and I will be very happy if both of us succeed.”
Breaking into the top-50
The Indian tennis star had slowly begun getting into his groove in the past few years, breaking into the ATP top-100, making the main rounds of the Grand Slam without having to go through the qualifiers grind and being the top-ranked player in the country.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran had suffered a wrist and shoulder injury towards the end of last year and though he made it to the Australian Open this year, could not perform at his best due to the after-effects.
He was also overtaken by Sumit Nagal as the top-ranked Indian tennis player earlier this year, but the self-aware Chennai native has already identified what he needs to do to rebuild that phase and possibly go to the next level.
“I think I have to improve my mental endurance, which is very important at that level. I have to find that sixth gear within myself and not go into overdrive,” he felt.