Pune, Jan 2 (PTI) Sasi Kumar Mukund, India's new Davis Cup team member, had an extraordinary childhood and became a graduate at the age of 15 but he is not in a hurry to explode on the tennis circuit.
Mukund was recently named in the Indian team as a reserve member for the World Group Qualifying tie against Italy, scheduled for February 1 and 2 in Kolkata.
Mukund had started the 2018 season outside 400 in ranking and ended it at 295 (number five in India) and was rewarded by the AITA selection committee.
Unlike many youngsters, the 21-year-old Mukund has an uncluttered mind. He knows where his game lies and strongly believes in the philosophy that success is a by-product of hard work, put in right direction.
Realising that he is much sharper than the kids of his age, IAS officer Sasi Kumar withdrew his son Mukund from school after second standard and prepared him to write seventh class examination at the tender age of seven.
Mukund further stunned everyone by clearing the 10th standard examination at age of 10 and went on to get a BBA degree when he was just 15.
"My father took this decision, so that I play freely and don't get pressurised by studies (later). At 6, I was able to understand how solar system works, so he thought I was comfortable enough to read those subjects. He said why not make him write these examinations," Mukund told PTI in an interview.
"It was not an interesting childhood, just tennis and tuition. No friends, no relaxing."
Mukund also revealed that his father himself, at the age of 45, took mathematics lessons to teach him the formulas because no centre was willing to enrol him as he was just 10 years old.
Mukund initially had his tennis training in India with various coaches in Delhi, Hyderabad and Pune but realised that he needs to set up a base, so he moved to Vienna to train with Martin Spoettl from the beginning of 2018.
"In life, not just tennis, when you are organised it gets better. You say, this time I will leave for office, this time I will have breakfast, this time I will practice, when you put things in structure, results get better. So that is one major reason (for encouraging results).
"If I lose, I am on court at 7 in the morning with the coach. No matter that day if I am feeling lazy or not, if it's sunny or rainy. When something stays without a break, it gives results."
So, is he happy with his progress?
"Result is just a by-product of what you do. The more important thing is the process. How better you get in game, how fitter you are? There is a long way to go for me. Why I could make a jump from Futures to Challengers was hard work. My coach is very tough. He pushes you a lot," said the youngster.
He began the new season with a first round defeat in the qualifiers of the Tata Open but is happy with his performance in 2018.
"The whole year I lost in first rounds many week but that's ok. I don't judge my life with results. You can play really bad, not doing job, but you might end up beating a top-50 player.
"For me, it's stupid to judge your happiness on outcome since it depends on a million reasons. It could be sun, wind, referee. You could play a perfect match but you can have one bad call, one net chord, and you could lose the match. You can't be sad for that," Mukund said.
"If you give 100 percent, results will come no matter what. I am not saying this by philosophy but by personal experience. I lost 10 Challengers and results actually came when I stopped caring about results. That is what I have learnt at age of 21."
Mukund said he does not find it tempting to play at the big stage without proper preparations.
"What will I do even if I somehow get to play Australia Open. I will rather ask myself, if I am fit to play five sets? These are not my goals, I have different priorities. Just participating is not enough. What is the point to lose 0-6 at Australian Open.
"First I need to be beating guys in 150 consistently. I have to be ready."
Mukund said he was struggling to cope with the pace of the ball at the ATP level but has to figure out how to find a solution for that.
"If I knew that I won't be 290 in the world. If I had the ability I would be way head. That is something I need to learn. Sometimes I play freely, but in big matches, I don't want to give away free points.
"I don't want to look like a clown in front of 200 people. You can't be super free and you can't be sure nervous. It comes with time."
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from Syndicated News feed, LatestLY Staff may not have modified or edited the content body)