The audience, including sports scribes from this newspaper, at the Indian Squash Academy (ISA) courts here were perplexed when India’s junior team coach Deepak Mishra battled it out in the qualifying phase of the 77th SRFI Senior National Championships.
“I competed in the men’s singles event at consecutive Nationals (2017 and 2018) in Greater Noida and Delhi respectively. Prior to that, I took part in the Pro Coach category in 2016 and ended runner-up. Only a couple of months ago, I decided to return. I am feeling much better now,” Deepak, who unfortunately couldn’t make it to the main draw, told DT Next.
“Let us take it step by step. By the end of this year, I want to get my whole game back. Skill sets wise, I am fine. But, I am well behind others in the physicality part. Once I am able to produce my natural game, I will start featuring in tournaments (in India). I wish to play alongside our senior players. I think I can do it,” added the 25-year-old. Deepak said he is taking complete care of his knee right now as he is finding it extremely tough to maintain high standards after a long lay-off.
“Whenever I feel uncomfortable, I go for rehabilitation. Now that I have coached for quite a few years, I realise the mistakes I had made as a player (laughs). If I can get through this stage, I can be a really good player.”
According to Deepak, excessive play without much rest during his Under-19 days cost him dear. “When I knew my time as a junior was coming to an end, I was worried if I would make a good shift. In a bid to achieve success, I played a number of tournaments without putting much thought. I was working so hard to get somewhere and never cared about recovery,” revealed Deepak.