What a story has it been for the young 21 years old Yubrani Banerjee. She was the only player representing West Bengal in the tennis events. And in the first round she was drawn to face India’s No 1 Ankita Raina who later have to withdraw from the singles event due to a back strain hence giving a walkover to Yubrani.
Yubrani who had travelled alone to Gujarat for the games now had a more clear chance on reaching her goal (winning a medal). In the QF she was up against Aarthi Muniyan of Tamil Nadu whom she defeated in straight sets hence confirming that she won’t be going back to Bengal empty handed.
We had a chance to talk to Yubrani after the tennis events were concluded at the National Games :
Q) When you got to know that you were the only tennis player representing West Bengal, how was the feeling? Was there any pressure to do well?
YB : Well when I got to know that I was selected for the national games I was really happy and knowing that I will be the only one from my state was a bit sad but at the same time it was challenging because I wanted to get a medal for my state since I was the only one representing Bengal.
Q) National Games is a big sporting event, were you excited to be a part of it?
YB : Absolutely I was so excited from the moment I heard I am going to play the national games, it’s like huge.
Q) Were you accompanied by any coaching staff?
YB : No I was the only one travelling.
Q) Take us through your mindset from when you got to know you’ll be facing top seed Ankita in the first round then she withdraw & you got a walkover and there was a more clear chance for a medal as you would have to win only one more match?
YB : Well I was really looking forward to playing against ankita because knowing that she is the number one player in our country made me really excited, I was really hoping for a good match. When I heard that she withdrew I was actually like oh okay, like I was kinda looking forward to it but at the same time it took me closer to winning a medal for my state so I was just focusing on the next match .
Q) How was the venue according to you ? Like the conditions and how was the court playing?
YB : Actually the weather didn’t really suit me it was pretty hot but at the same time we as players can’t do anything so whatever the conditions was we just played. Courts were pretty fast but it was not bad and the venue was huge. It was actually very nice.
Q) What do you think you could have done better in the match against Sharmada Balu (in the SF) ?
YB : On the first game I twisted my ankle so there was nothing much I could do but I really tried to play the match somehow because it was pretty important for me but at the same time Sharmada started off really well and she played a solid game.
Q) You have some good runs earlier in the season at Indian ITF and now a bronze in National Games.
Are you satisfied with the year considering the break after covid ?
YB : Yeah I had a good season this year earlier plus a bronze medal at the national games but unfortunately I tore my left knee ACL and I’ve been struggling since 6 months, So this was kind off a comeback for me but again I twisted my ankle. So I’ll just try to be injury free as much as possible and just keep going and do even better.
Q) How are you training right now and what are your goals for the next season ?
YB : Well I’m training in Kolkata with Rishi (Das) sir, we are really working hard, keeping all the injuries aside. I just want to play more itfs and perform well, get into the top 500 and top 5 in India. And hopefully get into the Fed Cup team.