New Delhi: It took Harsh Mankad eight years
since turning pro to earn his first Grand Slam appearance and
the 30-year-old is elated that finally he has his special
moment after a long and "tough" journey.
Mankad, grandson of Indian cricket great Vinoo Mankad,
qualified for the doubles event of the Wimbledon along with
Serbian partner Ilija Bozoljac last night.
"Yes, it`s definitely a very special moment to qualify
for Wimbledon. It`s been a long and tough journey. It`s been a
lot of hard work but I`ve enjoyed it. I`m grateful for the
opportunities I`ve had," Mankad told PTI from London.
Asked if qualification for a doubles event dilutes the
good feeling and that a similar success in singles would have
felt different, he said, "Tough to say. I`m happy either way."
Mankad was at the peak of his singles career, close to
breaking into top 200, when a knee injury put a break on his
progress in 2006.
He spent almost one year in rehabilitation and when he
came back in November 2007, barring a few good tournaments,
positives results were a few to mention.
Mankad said the passion for the game kept pushing him
during the injury period and he did not forget to mention
about the people who supported him those testing times.
"I wanted to get back on the court and play again. This
thought kept me going. My wife has been a huge support. The
Goodwin family from the USA and my friend Siddharth from
Bombay have supported me financially through this past year
which has been a tremendous help.”
"But the list is long and I`ve had a lot of support my
entire career and I`m grateful to everyone who has helped me,"
He was active on ATP challenger Tour and ITF circuit but
in 2008 he could manage to win just one Futures singles titles
and just one runner-up finish and did not play the singles at
all in 2009.
When singles career did not take the shape he had wanted,
Mankad decided to concentrate more on doubles and is proud of
"In 2008 I made the decision to focus on doubles. I enjoy
playing doubles and it was a way for me to continue my pro
tennis career," he said.
And in the last two years his doubles ranking has zoomed
to 118 from 1242.
Mankad is realistic when it comes to his hopes from his
first Major tournament and is just happy to learn from this
"I will focus on my game and try to learn from this
experience. I will continue to work hard and whatever the
results are, I will accept," he said.