Stanford University is home to two of the best talents amongst the Indian origin players – Samir Banerjee and Nishesh Basavareddy. ITD caught up with Paul Goldstein, former ATP top 60 player and currently Stanford Men’s Tennis Head Coach about Samir Banerjee and Nishesh Basavareddy :
What are your thoughts on Nishesh and Samir’s futures in Men’s tennis ?
Paul Goldstein: I’d like to say I’m fortunate and excited to have the opportunity to work with both Samir and Nishesh. Both of them have very promising futures in our sport. Nishesh has sometimes had some issues with his health, but once healthy, he’s been exceptional. He is very disciplined and has a very professional approach towards his tennis. He’s impressed me with his ability to manage everything going on in his life – tennis, social, his academics. I feel really strongly about his future in the sport.
Samir is an exceptional talent – I would say his ceiling is exceptionally high. He’s incredibly capable. Areas of growth for him include maintaining consistency and discipline, that would translate to consistent competitive performance. When he’s at his best, he plays at the highest level – as he demonstrated by being the 2021 junior Wimbledon Champion. When he came in as a freshman, he had a little bit more of a transition period at Stanford, but once he got comfortable, he won some of the most important dual matches over the course of the year. He embraces the moment, not afraid of the moment. He really has a very high ceiling.
Talking about ceilings and their pro careers, Nishesh beat Steve Johnson a few weeks back, Samir was extremely competitive here (Stanford Challenger) – he very nearly took out a top 200 player, what do you think they need to work on in the next couple of years to get into the top tier of professional tennis ?
For Samir, the ability is there. He just needs to work on his approach, staying disciplined, maintaining consistency with respect to his performances. In his game, he’s got good power on his serve, the direction could be improved a little bit. The ability to come forward and finish at the net could be improved a little bit. Another key area for him – when the ball is out of the strike zone, being able to maintain good pace – minor things. By far – the most important thing would be to maintain a disciplined and consistent approach.
For Nishesh, the most important thing goes back to his physical health. Nishesh is young, he just turned 18. Being able to dig himself out of corners is really important for him.
How do you think both Nishesh and Samir can maintain physical conditioning and what can they do differently so that there’s better injury prevention ?
That’s incumbent upon all of us – both those guys as well as our staff. Making sure that they are not only treating ailments or injuries when they happen but really doing all the rehabilitation work to prevent themselves from getting hurt. Once they have that, they need the discipline to do it every day. Day in and day out in order to give themselves the best chance to stay healthy. I have no doubt that they’re both capable of doing that. Both these guys have been huge parts of what we’re doing at Stanford. Absolutely critical members of our team. We’re very proud to be able to work with them and to have them be a part of the Stanford tennis community, really integral part of what we’re doing.