Tennis

ITF tournament | Ankita Raina gears up for season in Australia

Ankita Raina.

Ankita Raina.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

more-in

Hopes to play all Grand Slams and break into the top 100

Ankita Raina is off to Australia, to compete in the $25,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament in Bendigo, and prepare well for the Australian Open in Melbourne.

The country’s No. 1 woman singles player, the 26-year-old Ankita, ranked 180 in singles and 170 in doubles, is keen to lift the profile of Indian tennis.

“I hope in future, we take tennis to the next level the way our badminton players have done,” she said, when contacted.

It may take some doing and a lot of time to match the spread and progress of Indian badminton, but Ankita is focused on her job, to improve upon the last season.

“I am very happy with what I could do last season. I think it has been one of the best years so far, even though winning the Asian Games medal in 2018 was very special. Last year had its own highlights. I think, playing all the four Grand Slams and winning against Grand Slam champion and finalist, Samantha Stosur and Sabine Lisicki is still fresh in my memory,” said Ankita.

She has simple goals for the season.

“The goal this year is to play the main draw of all the four Grand Slams and eventually break into the top 100 in WTA rankings,” she said.

Support team

To that end, Ankita has been able to strengthen her team. Yes, she will have a team for the Australian Open.

“I have a good support team this time at the Australian Open. I am grateful that after all these years of struggle of travelling alone, I can finally travel with my team. Coach Hemant sir and Ketan sir, hitting partner, are travelling with me,” she said.

Hemant Bendrey has been guiding Ankita for many years while Ketan Dhumal will ensure that she is well prepared for her matches.

Even as she is thankful for the support and guidance, Ankita believes that she needs to believe in herself and her game to get to the next level.

She had closed the season nicely in the professional circuit by winning the singles title in the $25,000 event in Solapur.

Staying positive

“Honestly, in the last couple of weeks, I am feeling that it is very close and everything just needs to come together, to click in any of the big events. Now that I have gained all the experience in the pro circuit, I feel one just needs to stay positive regardless of the results and keep working,” she said.

Ankita is understandably elated about Sania Mirza returning to the professional circuit after the birth of her son, and into the Indian Fed Cup team.

“Our chances of qualifying in the Fed Cup this time look very high, considering the doubles will be stronger with Sania’s come back. She comes with the aura. Everyone is inspired by her. So, her presence will give us an added advantage. Last couple of times, it wasn’t easy for us when we were not able to clinch the decider doubles,” Ankita recalled.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 1:47:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/itf-tournament-ankita-raina-gears-up-for-season-in-australia/article30479108.ece

Next Story