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Apeejay Noida student wins national tennis championship series

‘My coach was eager to see me win this tournament,’ says Uttam Karthik

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Uttam Karthik, a class 10 student of Apeejay School, Noida, has been playing tennis from a very young age. He recently secured the winner’s trophy and a certificate of merit at the All India Tennis Association (AITA) National Ranking Championship Series 2022 in the under-16 boys singles category, held at Ghaziabad. In an interview, Uttam tells us how he developed an interest in tennis, how he juggles academics with sports, his future plans, and more. Edited excerpts:

Congratulations on winning the championship! How are you feeling? What about your parents and your coach?

I am very happy! I have been playing this tournament for nearly two years now, but this is the first time I have won the title. So, my parents are very happy and proud. My coach was also extremely happy. I have been training with him for six-seven years, so he had a lot of expectations from me and was eager to see me win this championship.

Tell us more about this tournament.

This is a national-level tournament under AITA where players from different states participate. The championship series has tournaments every week at different locations. While I played against people from other states in the tournament, the final game was with a player from Delhi NCR.

When did you start playing tennis? How did you develop an interest?

In India, most people are interested in cricket. But instead of a team sport, my family wanted to put me in a single sport where I could achieve my glory. I joined tennis about eight years ago and have been regularly practising ever since.

Who are your favourite tennis players?

Alexander Zverev and Rafael Nadal. 

How did you decide to participate in this championship?

It was a routine tournament for me. I had already rested for two-three weeks so when my father asked me about participating in this championship series, I was excited. That was also the time of my school exams, but I managed both.

Do you find it difficult to strike a balance between academics and sports?

It was a little difficult initially but now I am quite used to it. I have understood how to manage academics with sports. Now that I am in class 10, there is a little pressure of course with respect to the board exam. But my primary focus is tennis as it has always been.

What is your practice schedule like?

Usually, I come home from school around 2 pm and complete my studies. I head out for my practice session at 5 pm. I practise for about two hours. After this, I go to the gym for my everyday workout. As far as diet is concerned, I try to eat healthy foods.

Do you want to pursue a career in tennis?

Of course, I want to be a tennis player! I have already chalked out my career plan.

Are you planning to participate in other tournaments?

I participate in tournaments quite frequently. In fact, I am planning to play a couple of national-level games this month itself.

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Senior Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

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