Among the local youngsters who will take the court at the HCL-SRFI India Tour Chennai leg, 17-year-old Yash Fadte is the one to watch out for, according to junior national team coach Deepak Mishra.
“Yash has got a very good draw. He has beaten his first round opponent before (in the first leg of India Tour at Greater Noida in August),” pointed out Deepak, who recently completed a WSF-certified course and achieved a Level 3 coaching qualification.
Three Indian Under-19 girls – Rathika Seelan, Ananya Dabke and Abhisheka Shannon – are part of the main draw. And, Deepak believes the PSA Challenger event will give them huge exposure as they will square off against higher-seeded opponents.
“For the junior kids, it will be a great experience. We have some players (from other nations) who are ranked under 60 in the world. That is why I urge them to play more PSAs,” added Deepak.
Although everyone is better-placed in the rankings than the above-mentioned teenagers, the 24-year-old Deepak wants his wards to play to their potential. “I have worked with each one of them, all are very confident. They must just believe in themselves and not think too much about the rankings. They are capable of beating the better players.”
The experienced Harinder Pal Sandhu is making a comeback in the men’s section, having missed the action for about nine months courtesy an injury. Deepak, who shares a close bond with Harinder, asked the latter to go with the flow. “A few months ago, he was a bit scared about his back. As he started training on and off court, he got the confidence. Squash is a pretty demanding sport and he is 30-years-old. He has still got a bit of agitation, but he has been working a lot,” signed off Deepak.