Ahead of his clash against World No 21 Sam Querrey, Yuki Bhambri has asserted that he does not feel any pressure since he has nothing to lose in the match. The Indian star was adamant that he is still treating his first outing at Indian Wells, which is an ATP 1000 event, like any other tournament.
Almost a decade on from making an appearance at an ATP 1000 event, Miami 2009, main draw, as a wild card, Bhambri managed to make it again this time at Indian Wells. This time, however, there was no wild card offered and he had to beat compatriot Ramkumar Ramanathan in the qualifiers to book his place in the competition.
In the first round, he was drawn against Frenchman Nicolas Mahut. Once he overcame Mahut’s challenge in straight sets, another Frenchman, Lucas Pouille, who was almost a 100 places above him stood in his way.
When asked by ToI about his plans for the Querrey match, he replied, "Playing freely again. I have nothing to lose, only so much more to gain. He is a very good player, had an incredible season last year."
And why not! It has worked wonders for him so far, particularly his serves. In the match against Pouille, Bhambri won an incredible 73% of his first serves. In the second set, it was even better as 70% of his first serve points earned him his points and even more surprisingly, 80% of his seconds.
"I have been playing a lot of top players. The early break calmed the nerves a bit. I stayed aggressive throughout the match, never took my foot off the pedal.
"Good serving days obviously helps," Bhambri joked about his plan for beating the American.
But there is no apparent nervousness when the Indian has taken the courts in the tournament so far - a fact that Bhambri attested.
"I am playing for the first time at Indian Wells. But the level at which I am playing, I can't think about this being my first Masters. I am treating this as any other tournament and not think too much about it. Of course, every win gives a great boost to my confidence," he added.
Bhambri, however, was quick to credit his long-term coach Steven Koon for the improvements in his game.
"I have been working with him for the last six years. This time particularly I had a very good off-season in Bangkok. I am still trying to make some changes. The key is to execute what I have been trying in practice. The big part, however, is to believe in doing the right thing and staying positive," he concluded.
Cricket FootBall Kabaddi