She strayed onto a tennis court for the first time thanks to her father Yadlapalli Kishore’s love for the game. But, within a few days, the coach at the Sarojini Cricket & Fitness Academy, Sravan, and its Director Kiran Reddy (former national volleyball player) insisted that Yadlapalli Pranjala take up tennis with all seriousness given the way she first held her racquet and played some strokes. In their view, everything seemed to come quite naturally to her.
It has been a pretty remarkable success story since then for the Class VIII student of Chinmaya Vidyalaya. Now, the unassuming Pranjala is India No. 1 in under-14 girls’ category and sixth in the under-16 category. Her career graph was on the rise ever since she joined Sun-Jay Tennis Academy in Hyderabad in 2007 under the tutelage of Sanjay. Interestingly, before taking up the game Pranjala had not watched a single tennis match — not even on television. But, once she started winning titles in the local circuit, her interest and passion doubled.Hailing from the hometown of Sania Miza, the biggest name in Indian women’s tennis, 13-year-old Pranjala is keen to script her own identity in girls’ tennis before dreaming big. Incidentally, she has never met Sania.
That this young potential champion is already a big hit is evident from the number of students who turn up for training at the Sun-Jay Academy and in the process play a few ‘friendlies’. “She is a coach’s delight. She never complains of any demanding schedule,” says the proud coach. The growing stature of Pranjala is also reflected from the *double’ she won in both the under-14 and the under-12 categories last year. Significantly, this gifted youngster has won 17 titles last year. She has a very good all-round game for her age and is now keen to improve her service, especially the second serve. “Yes, I still have a long way to go and I am confident that in the days to come I will be a much better player,” she oozes confidence.
When she won the Asian under-14 girls title in Hyderabad recently, it was just the boost Pranjala needed. She will be representing India in the ITF Circuit in Phillippines. With Vasanth Foundation coming forward to take care of her travel expenditure in India last year, Pranjala, a big fan of Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters, had the liberty to compete in many events which helped her improve her national ranking. Lanco Group chipped in with Rs. 1 lakh recently; the gesture came in handy for the young star. Unlike many youngsters of her age, Pranjala is not too fastidious. “She is never fussy about anything and always eats the food which her mother prepares. The best part is that she never ever irritates us,” say the proud parents, Kishore and Madhavi (housewife).For those who had seen her play, it was obvious that Pranjala had the spark. Her biggest asset right now is an amazing temperament even under pressure. “Her strength is the way she controls the pace of the game. She invariably rises to the occasion and plays the game as the situation demands,” says the coach.
This champion is an avid reader and loves to watch TV as well. Importantly, she is brilliant in academics too; achieving nothing short of an ‘A’ Grade. “I must thank my Chinmaya School management for letting me compete in so many events and also arranging special classes when I come back to make up for the classes missed,” she says with a big smile.
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