Fear of Covid-19 will keep lingering: Rutuja Bhosale | Tennis News

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NAGPUR: The last week of the lockdown was toughest for Indian tennis player Rutuja Bhosale. Her father Sampat – a frontline warrior in the fight against Covid-19 – was afraid that he might have got infected. The police inspector posted in Pune did not talk to Rutuja and her mother for almost seven days.
The 24-year-old, who played a crucial role in helping India qualify for the World Group play-off in Fed Cup for the first time in history, kept quiet to make things look normal. Rutuja, a Shiv Chhatrapati Awardee, felt helpless. The apprehension kept growing till the senior Bhosale declared that he has tested negative for Covid-19 few days back. The inspector never revealed to his family about undergoing Covid-19 test. He maintained social distance from his family.
With things going back to normal, the third-ranked Indian player posted a picture with her father on Instagram on the occasion of his birthday. TOI got in touch with the tennis star.
Excerpts…
How do you feel when you see your father going out daily and putting his life at risk?
I am very proud that he is there in the field to save us. Though my mother and I are nervous every time he steps out of the house, we ensure that he is all covered up. Even he is very particular and disciplined about it. He maintains social distance, doesn’t sit close to any of us, and has his own quarantine room. Plus, he makes sure he sanitizes all possible accessories daily like badges after coming back home. Seeing him back puts a smile on our faces. It’s difficult but it also gives me a special feeling.
When things get normal, will there be fear regarding travel?
Definitely, the fear of ‘will I contract the virus’ will linger in everyone’s mind in future. Apprehensions will increase during tournaments organized in Asia, especially in China. I hope the fear does not affect the performance of players. Not just me, any player from across the world would think twice before touring Asia as we had a primary hotspot.
How has the Fed Cup result helped you in planning your career?
Though tennis is an individual game, we were representing the country at the Fed Cup. It was a different feeling. The icing on the cake was our historic victory. That title victory has literally pumped more belief in me. When we landed home after the Fed Cup win, I reflected on the entire process, of how everything worked so smoothly. The (December to February) break I took for rehab proved vital in shaping my performances in the Fed Cup. It gave me time to manage my load and be prepared mentally. I did well on all the fronts winning three matches out of five. Now, I have realized, if I give that extra push with proper planning, the results would be different in future.
Players won’t be able to travel as freely as they used to earlier. Will that impact their rankings?
It would be great if more countries plan to hold ITF, WTA tournaments. It will lead to less travelling, less fear and lesser risk. It will give a good opportunity for host nation’s players to garner points. It may sound too ambitious, but no player wants to lose points.
After a long time you spent so much time with your family…
I feel it’s a lucky break. When I was playing in the junior circuit, I never got time to be with my father as we both were busy in our fields. For the past seven years, four of which I spent in the USA, things have been like these. It was emotionally taxing sometimes. This home quarantine has been a blessing in disguise for me. Finally, I am spending time with my family.
Do you think it was a much-needed break for players as they got time to recover?
Yes, for few and not for all. For youngsters, the break may be a bit frustrating. Many didn’t need such a long break. I had already taken a rehab break and was getting into the groove on the back of Fed Cup triumph. But it’s okay. It’s a time for management and maintenance than the time of recovery.

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