Hyderabad: The sweltering weather notwithstanding, Yadlapalli Pranjala is seen sweating it out at the SATS Tennis Complex courts in the LB Stadium. The 19-year-old is leaving no stone unturned to get back to her full form after having suffered a strain in the back that ruled her out of the Fed Cup.
Pranjala strained her back while playing back-to-back tournaments in September and October. A bulge near the disk in the back forced her to take rest for four to six weeks and therefore had to give the game a break.
“Missing Fed Cup with injury is disappointing,” said Pranjala trying to catch the breath after the training. “I had represented Fed Cup last year and got an opportunity this year too. But it is sad to miss out,” she lamented.
However, she is now on her way to recovery. “I have resumed training now. I’m back to 70 per cent fitness. The progress is good. I am spending two and half hours in the evening in the gym and close to three hours in the morning on the court training, which is a good sign,” she added. The pain sidelined her from competitive tennis for three months now. But the winner of three ITF singles titles is hoping to make it to the circuit in a few weeks.
“I have applied for Japan visa where we have six weeks of tournaments. Once I get that visa, I will go back to Thailand to my training base Impact Tennis Academy and consult with the coach (Stephen Koon). If he says I am fit I will start playing from the second week or at least by March first week,” she revealed.
Pranjala, the World No. 288, further divulged that her target this year is to get into top 150 in WTA Rankings and play in qualifiers of the Grand Slams. “My target this year is to improve my ranking and also to be able to play Grand Slam qualifying rounds. I have missed three months of tennis with tournaments in India, two weeks in Hong Kong, two weeks in Singapore and Fed Cup. So the rankings had dropped a bit.”
After joining the Thailand academy in August last year, she went on to win back-to-back ITF 25k titles in Lagos, Nigeria in October and then played the main draw of Mumbai Open. She credits her consistent performance to her coach Stephen Koon at the academy.
“The competition in the circuit is very high. But after joining the Impact Tennis Academy, I have improved a lot. Coach Koon has been a great motivator. He pushes you to the limits in the training. I used to play three hours when I am here.
“But the stamina levels have gone up higher now. He makes us play six to seven hours on the court. I can see the change in my game as well. I can now reach to the ball faster. To compete in international circuit, I still need to improve my mental toughness and fitness. I believe I can do that now,” she added.