Pune, Dec 30 (PTI) “I am still looking for my game in this jungle,” said Saketh Myneni who qualified into the singles main draw of the Tata Open Maharashtra after nearly throwing away the advantage against Egor Gerasimov of Belarus, here Sunday.
Myneni is now fourth Indian in the draw and will open his campaign against French fifth seed Benoit Paire, who is coming into the season after enduring a mediocre 2018.
Myneni was leading 4-1, with two breaks in his kitty, but was soon trailing 4-5 in the decisive third set against the Belarusian, ranked 163.
However, he pulled it off in the tie-breaker, winning 6-4 6-7(4) 7-6(4). He let out a scream when Gerasimov hit one wide on the second match point.
“That was like giving it back to the so many fans who were cheering for me. I was not emotional. It depends, I did not want to disappoint the fans,” said Myneni, who generally doesn’t show his emotions on court.
Ask him about the third set and he quips, “It was up and down, it’s part of my life.” Myneni has been bothered by consistent injuries which never allowed him to reach his potential till now.
“It not great to give away breaks at this level. I am still trying to find my game in this jungle. I am still watching the videos from 2015 and 2016 and trying to figure out,” he said.
But he did make the final of Bengaluru Challenger recently.
“Last year I played 11-12 tournaments and though I made the final at Bengaluru but I did not play the way I want to play,” he explained.
So what is that he is missing in his game? “Like I changed the racquets and now I am back to old racquet (babalot, which he hired from Yuki) and I am still looking for the kind of strings I need, which gives me some edge in my game,” he said.
“I am basically a feel player (sic), I need to feel the ball, there is not much power. Then there is nutrition part and recovery process. I am also trying to be physically aggressive.” Myneni also suffered an injury scare during the match when he needed a physio on court for treatment on his serving arm.
“It was soreness and tight because I played a couple of wrong shots and it triggered the pain.” Talking about the see-saw third set, Myneni admitted he allowed Gerasimov to claw his way back.
“I played defensive at 4-1 and he took advantage. I should have dictated the point but did not hit deep. Instead he put me on run. And again at 4-3, I started well but played loose, missed my shots,” he said.
Apart from the win, he was happy about one more thing.
“After playing for two and a half hours I did not cramp and I will take it from this match.” Myneni, who trains with Tennis Australia’s Jaymon Crabb, said he will try to be competitive against world number 52 Paire.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.