Fitter and wiser, Karman Kaur Thandi finally turns the corner | Tennis News – Times of India

Karman Kaur Thandi believes she’s beginning to turn it around.
The big-serving 23-year-old is known for long, gruelling matches on the ITF women’s circuit. More often than not, she has been used to ending up on the wrong side of the scoreline.
There could be many reasons for the epic three-setters she frequently finds herself in. To go for her shots and never to back off is something that has been instilled in her from the outset. Besides, being based in Europe, Karman plays tournaments with strong fields.
But she seems to have cracked the code finally as she reached the final of a $25,000 ITF event in Ortisei, Italy, last month — all the four matches on the way to the final going into the deciding set.
“There were some really close matches, but I was not able to win those (earlier). The scoreline was like 4-6, 5-7 or 5-7 6-7. I think when I played Italy in November, that is when it just shifted. It turned around,” Karman said at the $25,000 ITF women’s tennis event in Pune last week.
She beat Switzerland’s 166th ranked Ylena In-Albon in the second round before falling to another Swiss, World No. 195 Susan Bandecchi, in the title match in Italy.
“I feel that is where, the level where I belong. I am beating those girls. So, yes, I believe that hard work never goes to waste. Nothing goes to waste,” the Delhi girl said.
“I was staying positive, my team was staying positive, and the results finally came in at the end of the year.
“This was unfortunate that I had to retire (in the second round in Pune) but I am really looking forward to the next tournament and staying strong.”
Karman said “it is not my choice” to play marathoners.
“Three sets I am playing some good girls, European circuit is obviously tough. And I was playing girls whose rankings I told you was pretty high. They were there to play, we are competing. It is not my choice to play three sets,” she said.
“Those were tough matches and I stayed very tough. I feel like if I stayed tough there for three hours, then I am a tough player to beat.
“Three sets was the scoreline but every point was high intensity. We both were trying to win the match and I am grateful that I got the wins.”
Karman’s campaign in Pune was interrupted by a shoulder issue and it came as a dampener as she had led the Hyderabad franchise to the title in the Tennis Premiere League in Mumbai the previous week.
She was unperturbed by the latest fitness concern.
“I mean, I am quite experienced with injuries. I feel like, ‘ok, if I work on stuff, I am going to come out of it’. So, I am keeping a positive mindset. Obviously, you feel bad but you have to think about how to get better. So, I found a way before, I will find a way now to make it better,” she said.
On the court, it was clear that Karman was playing well within herself. In both the matches, she used the wide and body serves more, rather than unleashing her thunderous bombs down the T. It was a different matter that on occasions she even aced her second serves.
Similarly, the groundstrokes on both the flanks were measured although she ever so slightly upped the tempo at crucial points to ensure things didn’t meander long.
Probably the warm Indian weather — compared to the colder climes of Europe where she had stayed for almost the whole year — contributed to the niggle but Karman said it wasn’t the case.
“I injured my abs in Italy, and am recovering from that. That is why even during the PTL and now I was not serving 100 percent,” she said.
“I feel like I was only serving 60-70 or at times 80 percent. I feel I need to recover still. I have to focus on recovery and rehab now to get rid of these things.”
Karman, having trained at the Patrick Mouratoglou tennis academy in France until 2020, joined Sascha Nensel and Milos Galecic at the Nensel tennis academy in Peine, Germany, after the lockdown.
“I didn’t leave Patrick, he wasn’t really my coach. I left the academy because with Sasha and Milos it was more centred and more personal. At Mouratoglou, I felt that ‘one coach for me for the whole time’ was missing. And it was just time to move on,” Karman said.
“Patrick … I am really grateful for the way he treated me there. All the help they could give me when I was injured, because that is when I was injured with the shoulder.
“The work that the team was putting in rehab and keeping me strong and getting me back on court was commendable.
“Tennis as well, it was a great facility and (has) experienced coaches. Definitely I have no complaints, it was all like a good relationship and good understanding.”
Clarifying on the one reason for parting ways with the Mouratglou academy, Karman added: “One on one and a coach who was travelling with me every tournament … because I was injured, that was not possible last year. But sometimes at Mouratoglou we were changing coaches every two or three weeks, not one team.
“With Sascha and Milos, the priorities were very clear. I felt we all worked really hard, putting in the hours for this year to help me stay strong and keep playing tournaments. We have built a good relationship so far.”
Karman had won her lone ITF title in 2018 in Hong Kong, without dropping a set. That win punctuated a fine run which included two semifinal appearances and qualifying for a WTA Tour event in Nanchang.
Three years down the line, she has grown stronger and wiser.
“All the work I have put in in the past three years definitely helps and builds up,” Karman said.
“I am thankful to the team that they could help me build up myself to stay longer and stronger in the matches, be solid in those points and where it is needed.
“Sometimes the matches are more mental than physical. But to stay strong mentally and have that trust in your body that you can go on for three sets against good players in high intensity matches .. I feel that definitely has helped.
“Since the last three years, that’s been the big difference, that I could play those high intensity matches and stay strong.”

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