Sharmada Balu looks back, for a better future

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It is precious when experience is backed by the eloquence of expression. With a charming smile and a hearty laugh on jokes made at her cost, Sharmada Balu mesmerised the Indian tennis fraternity around the world when she had a lively conversation with coach M. Balachandran on Instagram.

“I should have believed in myself a little more,” said the 27-year-old, who has returned to the professional tennis circuit after “learning about the other side of reality”, for a few years in the corporate world.

Having started early, being groomed at Mahesh Bhupathi’s vision programme when she was nine, taking her first flight at 12 for a tournament in Indonesia, and being one of the probables to partner Sania Mirza for the London Olympics in 2012, Sharmada had exposure to different facets.

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“It taught me to keep my eyes open,” Sharmada said — she quickly learnt to read people and understand the world when travelling alone.

She also trained in tennis academies in Germany, Spain and Thailand, apart from home.

“You need to pick what is useful to you. It does not matter where you train.

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“You need to know what you are doing and why you are doing it. And a good team to support you,” she observed.

Pat for Ankita and team

Sharmada was all praise for Ankita Raina and the team for elevating Indian women’s tennis to the World Group play-off level and for such a good tie against Latvia, in the Billie Jean King Cup. It was great “motivation” for her to regain her game, and reach better standards.

When asked about advice for juniors, Sharmada said, “there is zero short cut. If you are not doing the work, the one next to you is doing twice as hard.”

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Appreciating the value of basics, and not cluttering the mind with thoughts while playing, Sharmada said that she was grateful to Rohan Bopanna, the Spots School for the opportunity to coach even as she trains for her professional tennis.

“Am hungry to keep learning more,” signed off Sharmada, beaming.

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