May 5, 2006 – Ritwik, quoted in a previous Outlook India article: “Now I am more focused, feel more confident, and poised during matches.” … “My coach — former world number 12 Neil Harvey, knows about sports psychology too. Later just to confirm that we were in right direction we sought advice from Dr John Murray, an American psychologist.”

ExpressIndia.com – National squash champion reckons the less-hectic schedule working in his favour

Kolkata, May 5: “From now on, every time there’s an international tournament, hopefully, I don’t have to start with the qualifiers anymore.�

Now that he’s finally broken into the world’s top 50 bracket, the tongue-in-cheek remark from national squash champion Ritwik Bhattacharya comes as no surprise.

Ritwik may have crashed out of the Liverpool 08 Open with a first round defeat against world No 4 James Wilstrop. But there’s certainly no cause for worry, as the wily Indian notched up his career-best ranking this week, climbing two places to 49.

The in-form player, who will leave for the US this Tuesday for the Atlanta Open starting next week, gave Newsline a lowdown of his slow but steady rise to the top 50.

“I can confidently say that I am a much more complete player than I’ve ever been. The hard work apart, I’ve got a few things going right this year, like working on the mental aspects, spending more time with my coach (Neil Harvey), playing to a less hectic schedule, and improving my movement on the court.

“All these factors have worked out perfectly well this year, hence the result,� Ritwik said over phone from his London residence.

With the spotlight now on him, how does the ace player approach his next target, which he categorically spells out as breaking into the top 30 circuit.

Definitely by this year-end, I want to get into the top 30. And the good thing about being in the top 50 is the fact that Ill get to play the top 20 players regularly. Playing the best in the business in turn will help me in a huge way, reckoned the five-time national champion.

The Delhi-based player, who turned pro back in 2001 before bagging three PSA titles, has a string of tournaments round the corner, with the Chennai Open slated for June and the Malaysian Open in July.

Å“Im very upbeat about the forthcoming tournaments, particularly because Ill get the chance to improve my ranking fast. What I have to watch out for is how I can keep up the improved on-court movement, he said.

Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.