How the new national champion Vishwakarma is whacking the ball so hard?
By Amanpreet Singh
New Delhi, Oct 6 (PTI) After practising against a beast which throws a tennis ball at a speed of 280kms per hour, it was not a surprise that Siddharth Vishwakarma was whacking the ball around, catching his opponents by surprise at the National championships.
Not even Arjun Kadhe, the strongest of the players at the championship, could stop the unheralded Varanasi lad from stealing the thunder. He pounded winners from both flanks with his angled shots, leaving his rivals gasping.
Vishwakarma whose world rank is a humble 1221, is not even inside top-10 in India. Not even top-20. He is a distant 30 while Kadhe is India number six and was recently part of Indian Davis Cup team as a reserve member.
Someone for whom heavy spin was the biggest weapon, adding power to his ground strokes took one month, heading into the nationals.
This transformation came about after his coach Kamlesh Shukla brought a customised bowling machine from the USA and recovery machines from Korea to give his ward the best possible options to sharpen the skills after missing out on tennis for six months due to a throat infection.
Vishwakarma would hit 400-500 balls a day, four times in a week and the speed of the ball would be 280kms per hour. The result is, handling the biggest of serves and fiercest of strokes became easy for the 23-year-old.
The fastest serve in the tennis world was recorded at 263.4 kph when Australian Sam Groth served at Busan Challenger in 2012.
"I am practising with something which is fastest in the world. The big serves and powerful shots do not intimidate any anymore," Vishwakarma told PTI after winning his maiden national title.
"Now I find the returns from my fellow players, very very slow. I can place my returns anywhere on the court."
Shukla, a former top-10 player on Indian circuit, said there is a lot of spark in his ward and is confident he would break into top 100 in two years.
"He was very weak when he came to me. My job was to work on his strength. I brought this machine from USA and put him through gruelling drills. The result is there for everyone to see," said Shukla.
"For faster recovery, we brought machines from Korea. I myself hit for three hours with him, three days a week. He is practising 7-8 hours a day. We worked on conditioning too," revealed Shukla.
But will it not burn him out?
"No, I give him rest too, 36 hours a week. He has one and a half day free after intense practice for five and a half days," said Shukla.
Watching him dominate in this tournament, even a top AITA officials had remarked, "This boy looks destined to reach heights. He could be our new star