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"I am happy with my showing at the Commonwealth Games" says Indian squash player Vikram Malhotra

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Previews - Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Day -1

Vikram Malhotra is an Indian squash player. He's currently ranked in the 85th position. He started his season by winning the Atlanta Open. His first PSA title was the Betty Griffin Memorial Florida Open.

In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Malhotra talks about his performances in this season and his training for the upcoming season.

What prompted you to choose Squash as your career? Who has supported you during your ups and downs?

Malhotra: Squash has been a part of my life for a very long time. I started playing squash when I was nine years old and I quickly came to realize that I enjoyed playing and competing and that I had a talent for it. As I achieved more and more success throughout my junior career I continued to pursue the next challenge in squash, which brought me to compete in America at the college level and now on the pro tour. 

Ups and downs come with any sport and my journey is no exception. There have been some great times and unforgettable memories and also some tough times where I have had to move past mediocre performances and lingering injuries. It is during both these good and challenging moments when I feel very fortunate to have a strong support system in my family, close friends, teammates and of course my mentor, coaches and sponsors, including, Paul Assaiante, Thierry Lincou, Supreet Singh, Kevin Doyle, Amy Gross, and Mark and Jan at squashnutrition.com.

I am also very appreciative of all the people who continue to send me well wishes and notes of encouragement through social media, motivating me and pushing me to work harder. 

 How would you like to analyze your performance in Commonwealth Games 2018?

Malhotra: I am happy with my showing at the Commonwealth Games. I had the best singles finish among the Indian men and finished better than expected representing India in men’s doubles. Although I feel I could have played better and was disappointed to not medal, I came away from the Games with great motivation and fire to improve in the next opportunity to represent India. 

What kind of changes have you observed in the squash atmosphere, which has boosted up the level of squash in India?

Malhotra: I feel the biggest change I have observed in Indian squash is that the juniors have finally realized that they can attend college, get a good education and at the same time continue to advance their squash game. In past years, it was conveyed that we had to pick between getting an education and pursuing a squash career.

I feel I am evidence of the fact that you can get a great education, enjoy the college experience, while simultaneously strengthening your squash game. I genuinely feel that this is the strongest group of Indian men’s squash players that we have ever had. I hope we are able to build up from here. 

You started this season in a great way by winning the 2018 Atlanta Open. How did that tournament help you in getting your spirits high?

Malhotra: I couldn’t have hoped for a better start to the season than winning the 2018 Atlanta Open. It took a lot of hard work and preparation to get through that tournament on top and it is difficult to put into words the feeling of seeing all of your hard work pay off in triumphs such as this. That win definitely gave me a boost of confidence going into the Commonwealth Games. 

Squash - Commonwealth Games Day 2
Malhotra made it to the quarters of Men's doubles at CWG 2018

You weren't named in the men's team who's going to represent India in the 2018 Asian Games. How would you like to look at it? 

Malhotra: I was very disappointed to not have participated in this year’s Asian Games. It was difficult to come to terms with the fact that the team was selected based one month’s ranking, but then again, I am not the one to make excuses. I will take this one on the chin and make it a point to work even harder so as to never be in this position again. I will not let opportunities to represent India be left up to chance.

Which particular point of your life would like to call as the turning point of your career? 

Malhotra: I’m not able to pinpoint a single moment as the turning point in my career. My career is my journey – it is an ongoing process that I continue to learn, improve and grow from. Every time I step on the court I see it as an opportunity to make myself better. 

The new season is about to begin. How are you looking forward to the upcoming season?

Malhotra: I have had a solid preseason block of training and I am ready to start the 2018-2019 season. I have made some big changes in preparation for the upcoming season. I have moved to New York City to dedicate my time to training for and competing in pro events and this will be the first season for which I am competing as a full-time professional. 

There are various youngsters who are developing an interest in squash and wish to make it as their career. What piece of advice would you like to give to them?

Malhotra: I would honestly like to tell any aspiring players that there is no substitute for hard work, as cliché as that may sound. I would advise that they not get caught up in individual outcomes but to instead enjoy the journey and not forget the reason they started playing the sport in the first place. From a technical standpoint, I would tell them that discipline in training, good nutrition and focus on fundamentals are key.

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