Former top Indian junior player Karan Rastogi, who is now the coach of the Hong Kong Davis Cup and Fed Cup teams, spoke about playing against Spanish tennis legend Rafael Nadal during an interview with coach M Balachandran on Indian Tennis Daily’s Instagram handle.
Karan Rastogi talks about Rafael Nadal's professionalism
The 33 year old Indian, who peaked at No. 4 in the world junior rankings, competed against the 19-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal at the under-14 World Junior Tennis finals, and later at the Chennai Open ATP event.
“I was in the locker room, and Nadal and his coach were trying to look me up on the computer, as I could hear them mentioning my name. Nadal was world No. 2 and had already won the French Open two or three times. He wanted to know about the No.
350 in the world. It showed his professionalism." The Indian also spoke about the time that he was due to play current World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the first round of a junior Slam but the draw was changed due to an error.
"I remember I was drawn to play Djokovic in the first round of the Australian Open. Later, they changed the draw as there was a mistake." Ratsogi also spent some time at the Nick Bollettieri IMG Academy in Florida, where he used to train with Maria Sharapova and share a room with Japanese sensation Kei Nishikori.
"Nishikori was three years younger to me. He was special, so quick and agile." The Indian says he wishes he had the knowledge that he has now back during his playing career. “I wish I had the knowledge then. I could have done a little bit more.
Some things you control, some things you cannot. To make the jump from 300 to the top 100 was difficult. I didn’t prepare myself in a better way." And while he is happy with his current role in Hong Kong, Rastogi says he would be happy to look at a coaching role for India after his friend Somdev Devvarman suggested that he coach India.
"If Somdev offers the role, I will take it. I wish it was that simple." Rafael Nadal is currently ranked No. 2 in the world. He has won a record 12 French Open titles and an overall, 19 Grand Slam singles titles in his career.