Prerna, the Golden Girl of Tennis from Maharashtra
Prerna Vichare was competing in an ITF Juniors event in Delhi, when she got the news of her selection in the Maharashtra tennis team for the Khelo India Youth Games. From that moment she has been excited and keen on competing and doing well at the Games.
Now that the dust has settled and the Games are over, the XIth standard commerce student of Narsee Monjee, Mumbai college is richer by two gold medals in Under-17 category at the KIYG 2019.
Prerna has also won seven AITA titles in U-16 and had represented India in Juniors Fed Cup at Malaysia in 2018 where she won her all singles matches. She had a mixed 2018 but made a resolution to make 2019 one of her best years and aims to finish 2019 playing Juniors Grand Slam.
She has started off well by winning two gold medals at Khelo India Youth Game with the gold coming from both singles and doubles. She partnered Gargi Pawar for the doubles gold and within 24 hours she also clinched the singles gold defeating talented left-handed Priyanshi Bhandari of Gujarat in a thrilling two hours battle.
"It has been a terrific week for me, had there been mixed doubles I'm sure I would have got that too", jokes Prerna.
Prerna added, "I started playing tennis at the age of eight and Serena Williams had made me fall in love with tennis. She is my favourite player and what she has achieved in tennis is far beyond expectation. I regularly train at Khar Gymkhana, Mumbai with my coach Rohan Gajjar and at Pratt Tennis Academy under the guidance of Rama Rao. There is so much competition in the junior circuit too and both have worked really hard to improve my game and fitness.”
She went on, “I had the privilege to be the hitting partner with Rohan Bopanna as well. He had advised me to remain focussed while playing the game and not to care about any distraction while playing. I think his advice helped me because during the singles final, the game was stopped for about 10 mins as hundreds of school kids arrived on Centre Court stands and did not take their seats quickly.” She won her singles gold in a three setter 6-2, 5-7, 7-5.
On asked how she maintains a balance between the lifestyle of a college student and tennis player, she replied “I carry my academics book along with me every time. When I go back to the hotel I do my homework and complete my study. Due to Khelo India, I've to skip my college test but the college has been very supportive and I'll appear for the test next week. Reading and listening to music helps me focus on tennis. Before the game, I listen to high beat music and that pumps me up.”
She also revealed, “I'm also trying the law of Visualisation where I feel I'm playing flawless tennis against the opponent, so far it has been working well. Being a tennis player you need to have a controlled diet, I eat in limits but I've my desserts and chocolates has been my weak point since childhood."
As for the final goal, she says, “My ultimate aim is to be a top women's player and one day win a medal for India in Olympics. But right now, I want to focus on playing juniors Grand Slam by the end of the year. I think I'm on the right path and winning two medals here at KIYG has definitely boosted my confidence.”