India's Manas Dhamne has been taking rapid strides in the world of junior tennis over the past couple of years.
In December 2019, Dhamne won the under-12 singles title and reached the doubles final at the Eddie Herr international - considered to be one of the most important events in the junior circuit. Dhamne also won the bronze at the prestigious Junior Orange Bowl U-12 event in 2019.
The 13-year-old recently made his debut on the ITF junior circuit. In the three events he has played so far, Dhamne has qualified for the main draw in each; he went on to make the semis in one and the quarters in another.
Dhamne's impressive results have taken him to No. 593 in the ITF junior rankings - which makes him the highest-ranked player among those born in 2007.
In a recent chat with Sportskeeda, Manas Dhamne talked about his earliest memory of tennis, his future training plans and his current favorites in the tennis world. Here are the excerpts from the interaction:
Exclusive interview with Manas Dhamne
Sportskeeda: What is your earliest memory of tennis as a child, and what drew you to the sport as a kid?
Manas Dhamne: My earliest memory would be my first career title at the age of 5 years and 11 months. I had been seeing kids playing tennis when I was 4 and a half years old. By looking at them, I also developed an interest and then took up the sport.
SK: Is your training work based entirely in India? Any plans to move abroad in the future for better coaching facilities?
Manas Dhamne: Yes, I am currently getting trained in India. IMG has arranged international training for me at the Piatti Tennis Center (Editor's note - led by Riccardo Piatti, who is the current coach of Jannik Sinner and has earlier worked with the likes of Novak Djokovic, Maria Sharapova and Milos Raonic) in Italy.
Due to the pandemic, I could not get the visa. (But) as soon as I get the visa, I will fly to Italy.
SK: Who is your favorite tennis player, and also who is your favorite player from India?
Manas Dhamne: Roger Federer and Sumit Nagal.
SK: What is your single biggest goal in tennis?
Manas Dhamne: To win a Grand Slam and become World No. 1.
SK: What do you think is the biggest difference between junior players in India are from other countries?
Manas Dhamne: I'd say fitness.
SK: If you could choose any shot to construct your favorite player, what would that player look like?
Manas Dhamne: Forehand - Juan Martin del Potro; backhand - Novak Djokovic; serve - John Isner; movement - Gael Monfils; volleys - Roger Federer; mindset - Rafael Nadal.