Excited and very happy to be here: Alison Riske on 2022 Chennai Open

The World no. 29 Alison Riske says she is close to her fine form of 2019

September 11, 2022 04:18 am | Updated September 13, 2022 06:54 pm IST - CHENNAI

Top draw: Riske-Amritraj has won three WTA titles and will be the star attraction in Chennai. File

Top draw: Riske-Amritraj has won three WTA titles and will be the star attraction in Chennai. File | Photo Credit: AFP

Being World No.29 and the top seed at a WTA Tour-level event already make Alison Riske a top-drawer attraction.

But when she takes to the court at the Chennai Open, which starts on Monday, she is sure to grab even more eyeballs, for she is part of the Amritraj family – a household name in Chennai – married as she is to Stephen, son of former Indian Davis Cup player and captain Anand Amritraj.

“Excited and very happy to be here,” Riske-Amritraj said, on Saturday. “I have great memories from the last time when I came with my husband for vacation. I went to Agra, saw the Taj, and did some things around Chennai as well. I don’t think this week will be as eventful because I am at a tournament. I am excited to compete and just play some good tennis.”

Playing good tennis is what she has done in 2022. From being outside the top-50 at the start of January, she is now into the top-30 and come Monday will be on the cusp of making it back into the top-20.

By her own assessment, she is hitting the form that saw her reach a career-best ranking of 18 in the latter half of 2019, a season where she made her maiden Major quarterfinal at Wimbledon, which included a win over the then World No.1 Ash Barty.

“At that point [in my career], 2019 was my best year. Then Covid hit and after that, I was hurt for a few months (foot injury). But this year I have been healthy and back to kind of where I was in 2019, which is good and exciting for me.”

A lover of fast surfaces, especially grass, Riske-Amritraj has also done well on slower courts this year. At Indian Wells and Miami – traditionally slow hard courts – she reached the round-of-32 and round-of-16 respectively for the first time. This experience should come in handy in Chennai, where the courts are seemingly playing medium slow.

“It has been the beauty of my year thus far… success on slower surfaces,” the 32-year-old said. “I got to the round-of-32 at Indian Wells, which I hadn’t done before. Then I got to a final on a court that was slow as molasses (Nottingham, grass).

“That’s been a bit of transition in my game. I am very proud of that and I look forward to keep that going.”

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