Singapore: India`s No 2 tennis player Karan Rastogi wants to win back his place in Indian Davis Cup squad and improve on his ranking this year.
Speaking after winning the opening round of the Singapore ATP Challenger here, Rastogi said he wanted to take off from where he had left off.
"I know Indian Davis Cup squad is very strong with Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna and my close friend Somdev Devvarman but my priority is to be a part of this elite unit," said Rastogi, who was part of the Indian side which won the bronze medal in the team event at the Asian Games in Guangzhou last year.
When asked about the competition for a place in the squad, he said, "Obviously, competition is good as long as it is healthy. The current situation of tennis in India is better than what it was a decade ago."
The 24-year-old Rastogi`s, whose best singles ranking was 327 in June 2006, crawled his way back to be placed at No 332 this week.
Rastogi has been awarded a wildcard in the main draw of the men`s singles event of the ATP Challenger Tour tournament here and after his first round win, he is now looking forward to improving his rankings to go past his previous best.
"Actually, the moment I started doing well I had to undergo a back surgery and the painful procedure of rehabilitation costed me 16 months," said Rastogi, who is currently coached by Marc Sophoulis of Australia.
"But now I have put all that behind me and trying to get match fit and play a lot of events. Probably, I am playing my best tennis currently but a lot of hard work still needs to be done. I am trying to get better everyday," he added
On having to put in all the hard work again to get back from where he started a few years back, he said, "Obviously, it is a tough grind but I`m looking at it positively.
The time I was not playing tennis because of injury, gave me a new perspective about sport, tennis and life.
"Now, I don`t worry about my game and about others. As long as I give my best I`m sure things will fall in place. I want to improve my ranking so that I can get into grand slam qualifying."
On many Indian players concentrating on specialising in doubles and if he also wanted to look at doubles as an alternative, Karan said "playing doubles is an option but singles is priority".
"Currently, I`m looking at it from week to week. But if I can find out a right partner with whom I can get off with, it will be a good option," said Rastogi.