Mahesh Bhupathi has revealed what special he saw in Karman Thandi's game that willed him to take her under his wing. Bhupathi also briefly discussed his role in getting her into the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy, her constant rise and her attitude that has propelled her to success.
Though she is only 21 years-old, Karman Thandi has already been making waves in the country. Be it achieving a world ranking as high as 32 on the junior tour, winning five titles in the ITF Women’s Circuit or representing India in the Fed Cup, Thandi already has quite a few illustrious feathers on her hat. However, as her father admits, not much of it would have been possible had she not received the backing of former Indian tennis sensation Mahesh Bhupathi.
The multiple Grand Slam winner along with the Virat Kohli foundation has been financially helping Thandi’s family in helping her reach her goals and tour the world playing tennis for quite some time now.
“Well, with Karman, I have been backing her for three years now. I think she just had the potential to develop a big game. She is a tall girl, has a big serve, and obviously works really hard. The potential to have a big game is what was special. In modern-day tennis, you need to have a big game to make it to the top. That’s what stood out,” Bhupathi was quoted as saying by Scroll.
His involvement helped the girl from New Delhi get into one of the world’s most fabled training institutes - the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy - which currently boasts of having trained two of the best tennis players of all time in Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic.
“I’ve been on the tour for 25 years, so I know what’s good and what’s not. Novak Djokovic and Serena [Williams] train at the Mouratoglou’s, so obviously they have got to be the best in the world. So that was when I requested Patrick [Mouratoglou] to go and have a look at her game, and he was impressed as well. That is how her relationship at Mouratoglou’s started,” the 45-year-old said explaining his role in getting her into the academy.
Having a career-high WTA ranking of 196 in singles and 180 in doubles, Thandi is well on her way to success and her rise to the upper echelons is beginning to take shape. Bhupathi has surely been impressed by the progress she is making.
“Well, she is moving in the right direction every year. On tour, she has been going up the rankings. Unfortunately, she’s injured now. But that’s part and parcel of professional sport. So I’m sure once she recovers, she’ll be ready to go again.
“I think pressure and expectations are part and parcel of the process to try and become a champion. From an athlete’s perspective, the biggest expectation is from within themselves. I know Karman is a very ambitious girl and she focuses on what her goals her are, rather than being bogged down by expectations from outside. So it’s good to have that kind of attitude because it forces you to push harder when things are not going your way,” the former doubles star signed off.
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