Hyderabad: Hyderabad’s talented tennis player Yadlapalli Pranjala last won an ITF singles title in 2018 in Lagos. After an impressive run, she injured her back that forced her out of the game for a major period. Pranjala returned to the international circuit recently and she announced her arrival with a bang. Playing among the top players of the country, the Hyderabad girl came out with flying colours to clinch the $15000 ITF title in Bengaluru on Sunday. This is her fourth ITF career title.
However, the journey to top level tennis was a long one. In a bid to treat her injury, Pranjala went to Melbourne, Australia for a rehabilitation programme with noted physiotherapist Paul Ness on the advice of his coach Stephen Koon, in February 2020. With Covid-19 restrictions and a ban in international travel, the 22-year-old stuck there for 14 months. After completing her rehabilitation programme in Melbourne, she played a couple of local tournaments to test her fitness. The youngster returned to India in April this year and then went to the United States to play ITF tournaments but returned with disappointing results.
The ITF tourney in Bengaluru was her fourth major event and she hit the strides right away. “It was a very good tournament. I didn’t play many tournaments in between because of my back injury. I could not train with my coach Stephen, who is based in Thailand, because of the Covid restrictions. I trained in Hyderabad and shifted to Bengaluru ahead of this tournament. The win here gives me a lot of confidence. The tournament has all top Indian players and playing back-to-back matches every day was a good test to my body and fitness levels,” she revealed.
She also credited Srikanth Varma Madapalli, the strength and conditioning coach from the city who also trains PV Sindhu, for her improved fitness levels. “Srikanth sir helped me a lot in improving my fitness levels after my recovery. I improved a lot after training with him after returning from Australia,” she added.
About her next target, Pranjala, who had the highest WTA ranking of 265, said that she is not thinking too far. “I am going to play another $15k ITF tourney in Solapur. Then we have $25k and $15k tournaments in Pune and Navi Mumbai. I am looking at one tournament at a time. Depending on each tournament, I will plan the next move. But my goal is to play Grand Slam qualifiers next year and improve my WTA ranking to 200,” she revealed. She also thanked GO Sports Foundation for their continuous support.
Meanwhile, Srikanth Varma said Pranjala is a hardworking player. “She is a gifted and hardworking player. I have planned the programme based on her body type. She worked hard and never complained. She has a lot of potential given her determination,” said Srikanth.