Yuki Bhambri returned to the tennis courts today after a long injury layoff of about 2.5 years. Yuki played against Australia’s Matt Ebden, who was runners-up in the Mixed Doubles at the recently concluded Australian Open. Yuki showed glimpses of his old touch and form, as he pushed Ebden to a tiebreak in the set, after being 2-5 down in the set. But Ebden proved to be a little too strong at the end for Yuki

Speaking at the end of the match, Ebden shared his thoughts on – the match, his Australian Open campaign, a potential reunion with Leander Paes, and much more

SINGAPORE – FEBRUARY 24: Yuki Bhambri of India plays a forehand in his Men’s Singles first round match against Matthew Ebden of Australia on day three of the Singapore Tennis Open at the OCBC Arena on February 24, 2021 in Singapore. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images for Sport Singapore)

Excerpts from the interview with Ebden –

Q) Thoughts on the match

It was a good match for me. Coming from Australia only on Sunday, I have played a lot of matches – singles, doubles, and mixed doubles, in the last six weeks. I feel in good rhythm. I played a very good match, except for that one game in the second set where I got broken while serving for the match.

And then he played a lot better as well. It was good quality by the time we reached the end of the match. We both kept lifting our games, so that was nice!

Q) Thoughts on Yuki’s game. He’s coming back after a long injury layoff!

It was good to see Yuki back. He’s a friend of mine and we have played doubles together in the past. I don’t know how much he’s been playing in India, but I know that he’s not been on the Tour for the last 2 years or so. Neither was I in the last year. But it was good for both of us to be on the court playing some good Tennis

Q) About your long journey from Australia after the late Mixed Doubles final finish

It was a late Saturday finish. I flew on Sunday morning and got into Singapore on Sunday night. Because this is a indoor tournament, and because I was in the finals of the Australian Open, I was allowed to have a Wednesday start. I got a couple of days to practice, which was good. It served me well as I played good today

Q) Possibilities of re-partnering with Leander Paes in the futures

Maybe. I have spoken with him a lot in the last couple of months. Unfortunately, there wasn’t an opportunity for us to play in the Australian Open together. But maybe in some other tournament in the next couple of months. I had a good time playing with him last year in Dubai and India. It was great fun

So got to wait & see what schedule he’s available and what tournaments we might get into. Also, in the meantime, I am playing with JP Smith, a fellow Aussie

Q) Your camaraderie with Indian players/community

In the last 10-15 years, the Indian guys have been the guys I have naturally been friendly with. I have always found them to be chatty & friendly. They are always up for a good time, a good laugh and are always pretty chill

There are at least 5-10 Indian guys I would call my friends. It’s always fun to spend time with them in different cities around the world. I think highly of Indian players and Indian Tennis. I was lucky to be a part of it, playing with Leander in India last year, which definitely helped strengthen my connection with the country, Hopefully we can do more in the future!

SINGAPORE – FEBRUARY 24: Yuki Bhambri of India plays a forehand in his Men’s Singles first round match against Matthew Ebden of Australia on day three of the Singapore Tennis Open at the OCBC Arena on February 24, 2021 in Singapore. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images for Sport Singapore)

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