“Dream chased , Success Realised”
One of the most joyous and emotional moments in life is to get reunited with a long lost love. Often people give up on things they are skilled at and in the process shatter many dreams they once had in broad daylight. But for Ashish Parmar, the visualizations that he once had as a young budding teen tennis player are coming true after four decades of life.
Ashish Parmar was born to a family of sports enthusiasts. Parmar’s father was a cricketer who played in the Ranji Trophy and as a child, Ashish followed his father’s footsteps. By the age of 11, Parmar showed promising athleticism and was selected to play for the Kanga League Team Cricket Club in the G Division. However, young Parmar was never fond of team sports. As a result, he pledged his allegiance to tennis and decided to pursue his sporting career in the world’s largest racquet sport. Success followed soon for Parmar as he won his first AITA U-18 title at Khar Gymkhana in Mumbai at the age of 16. Such was Parmar’s rise in the game that he was sent to Nick Bollettieri’s academy on scholarship. Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Kei Nishikori and Boris Becker are some of the few names who have immensely benefited from Bollettieri’s academy. After benefiting from the advanced workshop at Bollettieri’s academy, Parmar began his quest on the Challenger circuit. He faced future World No.4 Tim Henman on the Satellite Circuit in 1993-94 but lost to him 6-1, 6-2.
Parmar kept gathering the feathers in his cap as he reached the quarter-finals and semi-finals of multiple National and Grade 1 Championships like the Sriram Open, which is now famous as the Fenesta Open. He reached a career high national ranking of No.23 but little did he know that his tennis career was about to face a major setback. In an unfortunate series of events, Parmar had to undergo a surgery in his right knee due to the development of a ganglion cyst and hence had to quit tennis due to physical limitations. Taking the conventional academic route, Parmar later pursued MBA from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and did not play tennis for the next 18 years.
In this long break of nearly two decades, Parmar gained a lot of weight and scaled 110 kgs. Pulling the plug from playing tennis and being physically active on an irregular basis resulted in collateral damage. Parmar’s body started developing systemic complications of which asthma was one of them. Any attempt he made to play tennis saw him getting weared out physically and he would be on the sidelines after 20 minutes. The seriousness of his fatigue reached so high that in one of the state level championships, Parmar had a match point but had to withdraw from the match as he could no longer stand on the court. Difficulties piled up as Parmar’s technique began to falter and he tore one of the muscles of his forearms due to constantly hitting strenuous single handed backhands. Upon consulting a doctor, he was told that he needed to switch to hitting a double handed backhand or consider quitting tennis.
In 2014, aged 39, Parmar came across United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) certified Elite Professional coach and AITA Certified Level 3 coach, Suresh Maurya. Parmar began to train under Maurya in order to regain and redevelop his tennis skills. Two years later, Maurya won the USPTR Coach of the year (India) award given to him by the United States Professional Tennis Registry (USPTR). One of the keys in regaining his lost skills in the process is the strict schedule that Parmar follows. Waking up at 4 am in the morning, he reaches Neon Sports Academy for speed, agility and fitness training. When the sun rises, he goes to gym for 30 minutes and returns to Neon for practicing serves at 7am. In order to keep his body in shape, he does yoga for 45 minutes. After his office hours, Parmar undergoes thorough tennis coaching once again from 4pm to 6pm and later goes to various clubs in the evening to play against higher ranked opponents. After a rigorous physical day, he goes to bed by 9.45 pm.
By the coaching expertise and guidance of Maurya and the strong will of Parmar to get back into the athletic mode, Parmar, now a man from the corporate world began competing at the Young Seniors circuit of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Once again, he began to reach the finals of multiple ITF Championships and in the 40+ age group, he currently stands as the fourth best player in India. Presently, Parmar is 43 years old and has been summoned by the All India Tennis Association to represent India at the ITF Young Seniors Team Championships in the 40+ category. The tournament is held at the Miami Beach in Florida and is the highest ranked ITF event for players above the age of 40. The tournament will be held from 21st October to 26th October 2018.
“Dare dream high and work hard to achieve,” says Parmar who is globally ranked within the Top 150 in the 40+ category. Today, Parmar can outrun many young players and can physically endure in prolonged tennis matches. Seated at No.4 in the national rankings, Parmar attributes much of his success to Suresh Maurya for helping him get back on track by bringing back the required discipline in his technique and once again making him confident on his single handed backhand. The inspirational tale of Ashish Parmar speaks volumes about the strides he has made in order to live his passion once again despite years of separation.