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Tokyo 2020 Special: Athletes are as patriotic as those in the armed forces, says rising tennis star Rohan Bhatia

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The class 9 student of Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park is inspired by Rafael Nadal and Sumit Nagal, who is representing India in the Tokyo Olympics that began on July 23

 Rohan Bhatia (right) finished runners up in the under-12 category at the All India Nationals Tennis Championship organised by ‘Tennis o Holic International, along with his schoolmate Charanjot Singh Kochar.

Rohan Bhatia, a student of class 9 at Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park, idolises Rafael Nadal. Bhatia admires the Spanish tennis superstar for his unrelenting quest of sporting glory which is still going strong, even after winning 20 Grand Slam titles.

 Bhatia finished runners up in the under-12 category at the All India Nationals Tennis Championship organised by ‘Tennis o Holic International, along with his schoolmate Charanjot Singh Kochar.

Although he looks up to Nadal, he is expecting his arch-rival Novak Djokovic to do well at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics which began on July 23. “Nadal has unfortunately withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympics and I feel Djokovic is on the cusp of creating history. After winning Wimbledon, he is in great touch. Everybody in the club of 20 grand slams – Djokovic, Roger Federer and of course, Nadal – is proving naysayers wrong and defying convention and age,” says Bhatia.

When it comes to the Indian contingent, Bhatia says he has enormous appreciation for Sania Mirza. Mirza and Ankita Raina will clash with Lyudmyla Kichenok and Nadiia Kichenok of Ukraine in the first round at the Tokyo Olympics. “She is a great champion and a role model for women players in the country.  Even at her age, she has reinvented into a formidable doubles and mixed doubles champion. There is so much both women and men tennis players can learn from her.”

The other Indian in the tennis fray at Tokyo is Sumit Nagal. Nagal takes on Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin in the first round on July 24. “Nagal gave a tough fight in one of the grand slams to Roger Federer whom I consider the Greatest of All Time. With that one match, he gave hope to Indian tennis fans.”

Whether it is Nagal or Nadal, Bhatia draws some measure of inspiration from both. “Nadal’s aggression and passion to win stay undiminished even after winning 20 grand slams. Although there are younger challengers such as Dominic Thiem of Austria and Alexander Zverev of Germany, the triumvirate of Nadal, Federer and Djokovoic isn’t ceding even an inch to them.”
Coming back to the Olympics, one seasoned performer missing in action for India is Leander Paes, says Bhatia. “Along with Mahesh Bhupathi, he has made India proud on numerous occasions, including in the Davis Cup and in the Olympics. The duo wore their patriotism on their sleeves and that is something younger players can tend to emulate.”

Talking of patriotism, once he grows up, he wants to become a pilot in the Indian Air Force. “Inspired by my uncle, I have grown up appreciating those who protect the country on the border. One can display one’s patriotism by joining the armed forces. Similarly, one can do well in sports and make the tricolour proud.”

Tennis prodigy Rohan Bhatia is a student of
class 9, Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park

“Inspired by my uncle, I have grown up appreciating those who protect the country on the border. One can display one’s patriotism by joining the armed forces. Similarly, one can do well in sports and make the tricolour proud.”

Aasheesh Sharma is a seasoned journalist with an experience of more than 25 years spread over newspapers, news agencies, magazines and television. He has worked in leadership positions in media groups such as Hindustan Times, India Today, Times of India, NDTV, UNI and IANS. He is a published author and his essay on the longest train journey in India was included in an anthology of writings on the railways, brought out by Rupa Publications. As the Editor of Apeejay Newsroom, he is responsible for coverage of the latest news and developments in the Apeejay institutions. He can be reached at [email protected] He tweets @Aasheesh74

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