In a thrilling match yesterday at the ITF Women’s Open held in Bangalore, Rutuja Bhosale pulled off an impressive upset, defeating the No. 2 seed Valentini Grammatikopoulou in a closely fought encounter. Bhosale’s remarkable victory over the Greek player highlights her immense talent and potential, making her one of India’s most promising tennis players. We got up close to hear more about her journey and her dream of becoming a top 200 WTA singles player.
Relentless hunger to win
Bhosale, who is currently ranked 419th in the world, demonstrated immense mental resilience and superior skills to overcome the formidable Grammatikopoulou. Despite almost losing the second set, Bhosale held her nerves together and fought hard to come out on top, securing the match in just over two hours. Although her powerful strokes and superior skills were on full display, it took more than just better stroke play for her to overcome her opponent, as at times, it looked like Valentini was going to run away with the match. The win is especially significant as Bhosale had lost to Valentini in a closely contested match just a week ago.
In the follow-up round of 16 match against D. Marcinkēviča, she again pulled a hard-fought win, coming back from a set down to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
These victories will serve as a significant confidence booster and will further cement her status as one of India’s most promising tennis players.
The long fight against injuries
Bhosale’s journey hasn’t been easy, with injuries hampering her progress in recent years. However, her spirit and perseverance have seen her through the tough times. In 2013, she moved to the United States where she played college tennis for Texas A&M University. After completing her college commitments, she returned to professional tennis but struggled with injuries and was unable to play many tournaments upon her return.
This was the major reason why her WTA rankings tumbled between 2014-2018. When asked about it, she mentioned that the rankings do not do her justice, as she hasn’t been able to play many tournaments. Her primary goal for 2023 is to play as many tournaments as she can.
She mentions that with coach Kedar Shah, she has worked hard to regain fitness and form and going forward, she hopes to stay injury-free and continue to put in strong performances.
Bhosale’s great form in this tournament puts her on the path to greater success, and she will now look to build on this momentum. Looking at her upbeat attitude and resolve, we feel that Bhosale’s best is yet to come, and she has the potential to make a significant impact on the international tennis circuit.
When asked if she would like to specialize in doubles, she reiterated her goal to continue playing singles as long as she could with the goal of breaking into the top-200.
“I love playing singles, and now I feel like I can beat the top players. Obviously if things don’t work out, I can focus on my doubles game, but right now, that’s not my goal.”
This was a welcome change in attitude towards singles, as many Indian players (in both mens and womens categories) have often struggled with the physical brunt that comes with a singles career. (Yuki Bhambri being the most recent example)
If you’re a Indian tennis fan, keep an eye out for this rising talent whose best is yet to come.