“I had to win for India, I kept fighting” – Rutuja Bhosale, after saving 3 MPs to beat Yang from Chinese Taipei.

Rutuja Bhosale has been on a blistering form over the week winning very crucial Fed Cup singles rubbers to give India the lead in the Asia/Oceania Group I qualifiers. She had a big match against the fifteen year old, Yang Ya Yi, from Chinese Taipei which went on for over 3 hours, and she emerged triumphant. Here, she shares her thoughts after the victory with Krishna Kumar ji.

Fantastic match today, what a fight! It went of for 2hrs and 46mins. Your thoughts on how you adjusted to the youngster’s game, saving 3 match points and converting on the second match point of your own?
Oh (with a sigh of relief)! I don’t know, I was just trying to fight. Just trying to not give up because I think I went down 1-4 in the final set. My body was feeling it today, I was so tired. I woke up a little bit sick today.
It was just the rush. I had to win for India. I just kept fighting. You guys were behind me. Vishal kept telling me to put the balls back and let her try to go for extra. And I kept pushing her.


You had a blip towards the end of first set and you took a medical timeout. The momentum seemed to shift afterwards. Did that hamper your game or your mobility?
Yeah, I took a MTO after the first set. Because my hip wasn’t working well. But then I wondered why I took that MTO as it went completely opposite in the second set. But then I think I grouped up pretty well when I was down 1-4 in the final set. And I am really proud of myself for pulling through this one!


The dream to make it to the World Group Playoffs for India for the very first time looks well within reach. One more match to go against Indonesia where you may face another unranked teenager. How is the preparation going to be like?
Oh my God! What am I even supposed to think of these teenagers? They’re all just so fearless. Like I remember when I was 15, and this is exactly the same. They’ve got nothing to lose and have no fear. They’re just going for every shot they can. And hitting it as hard as they possibly can. This is crazy that they make all those balls back in. But tomorrow is going to be a different day and a different match. Ankita ma’am knows how the Indonesian girl plays, so I can get some tips from her, and that should help me. But yeah, just go out there, and play all those balls. Probably, me being older and hitting those balls will put them in defence, hopefully!


You’ve been on senior Fed Cup duty as a teenager yourself. How difficult it is physically and mentally to play so many matches back then and now?
Well, when I was 16, I was so excited to be on the team, especially with Sania Mirza. I feel excited even now! The body was younger back then and now it is getting fatigued as the matches are going. But to play for the country, it is something that every player wants, and that just keeps us going.


(Interviewed by Krishna Kumar ji)


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