CHENNAI: A first title in his first-ever international tournament. When asked how he felt, "Extremely delighted," said Rajasthan tennis player Fardeen Qamar who clinched the boys singles title of the YMCA-TTT ITF U-18 juniors tennis tournament. He beat top seed Megh Bhargav Patel 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 on Saturday.
Fardeen started playing tennis in 2012 when he was 11. Playing his first ITF event, the 17-year-old was nervous initially but now he aims for a good run in the future. "I came here alone two weeks ago. I was very nervous initially. However, defeating four seeded players boosted my confidence. My father Qamaruddin Khan is my coach," said Fardeen, who trains along with his sister Farhat Aleen Qamar at Rajasthan Tennis Club in Jaipur. Incidentally, he is the first Rajasthan player to win qualifiers and go on to win an ITF title.
Fardeen lost in the first round of the U-18 clay court nationals last week but did not lose hope and worked hard to give his best in the ITF meet. He was ranked 39 but after this triumph, he will climb to No 12 in the national rankings. "I didn't want to sit back after losing in the first round. I practiced extra. Now I want to break into the top-10," he said.
Asked about his toughest match this time, the Rajasthan player said, "The final was the toughest as I played the most experienced player. His (Megh) strength is his service. After knowing that I will play Megh in the final, I practiced on my return of serve. After losing the second set, I kept telling myself to stick to the basics in the decider."
This year ITF has introduced a new rule called 'no let' rule only for junior tournaments. The rule states that if the serve hits the net and lands in the correct service court, the point continues. Asked about facing the rule, Fardeen said, "I faced it in the semifinal when I was 4-5 down. My opponent's serve hit the net and rolled into the correct service box and I lost the point and the set. The rule will not help us when we graduate to the senior level."