At 35, many athletes might well think about life after sports! But, for Davis Cupper Saketh Myneni, the journey in search of excellence at the highest level goes on.
Not surprisingly, this gifted tennis player, who achieved a career-best doubles ranking of No. 74 this year, made another emphatic statement about his abilities winning the men’s doubles silver (partnering Ramkumar Ramanathan) in the recent Asian Games.
“Winning my third medal in the Asiad is a truly fabulous feeling. It only reminds you that you still have a lot more still to give. I owe a lot to my wife for this medal,” Saketh in a chat with The Hindu.
“The Asiad silver is a great morale booster as I chase the dream of representing India in the 2024 Paris Olympics. I am conscious of the challenges ahead, the biggest being to be very consistent in the ATP circuit to keep improving my rankings. It’s never going to be easy for sure,” Saketh said.
“Winning a medal for your country in a continental event reflect a lot about where you stand. I am really glad to have pulled off this silver and thank my teammate Ramkumar for making it truly memorable,” he said.
“It has been really tough for me to manage, especially the finances as I couldn’t find sponsors. I started by investing the money I earned as a coach before turning Pro. We pay from our pockets for travel, accommodation, nutrition, coaching and training,” Saketh added.
“There has been no funding or help from the Governments or from the national sports federation even after the 2014 Asian Games medals. Tennis players in India need a system to support them from a young age to achieve the dream of winning Olympic medals and making singles Grand Slam champions,” he said.
“I also lost a lot of valuable time because of the pandemic. It is demanding to travel 30 to 40 weeks every year. I had to respect my body and stop playing singles. The focus is now more on doubles,” he said.
On the Tennis Premier League, Saketh felt it was a perfect platform for the young talent in terms of exposure, especially given the kind of promotional events they were planning.