Timely events to bolster Indian women’s tennis

Two back-to-back ITF events promise a lot

Updated - June 13, 2022 07:45 pm IST

Published - June 13, 2022 06:18 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Ankita Raina should be expected to do well.

Ankita Raina should be expected to do well. | Photo Credit: File photo

The health of Indian women’s tennis, of late, has been reflected by the ranking of the country’s No. 1 player Ankita Raina.

From a career best 160 in March 2020, and 193 last year, the 29-year-old’s singles rank has slipped to 363.

Other leading players like Karman Thandi, Rutuja Bhosale, Riya Bhatia, Sowjanya Bavisetti and Zeel Desai range from 482 to 592.

In such a scenario, the two $25,000 ITF tournaments scheduled to be staged consecutively at the Tennis Project in Gurugram from June 18 come as a blessing for Indian women’s tennis.

‘’Almost 50 Indian players will compete in the first week. I expect the second week to be similar,’’ said tournament director Vishaal Uppal.

Uppal - captain of the women’s team for the Billie Jean King Cup - has been trying to grow the talent base.

‘’Hosting these events is an uphill task. But I am determined to do my bit and help our players. It will be great to see all the top Indian women compete in the same tournament,’’ said Uppal.

Last week, the Indian women were spread out around the world, competing in nearly 10 different tournaments in Thailand, Europe and US.

‘’I hope, by doing these two events, we will be able to impress upon corporate India the importance of hosting such tournaments for the benefit of our players,’’ said Uppal.

The first tournament is expected to have Ankita as the second seed, with six other Indian players getting direct entry. More will get wild cards. The qualifying event will give a chance for many more to capitalise on the home conditions.

The field is expected to be a lot stronger in the second week, with Ankita pushed to the seventh seed, thanks to the entry of players from Ukraine, Russsia, Latvia, US, Georgia and Japan. In fact, only three other Indians could gain direct entry on the basis of their rank.

Hopefully, the Indian players would be so well acclimatised to the conditions by then that they could be dictating play against quality opponents.

‘’There are some tough players expected from other countries. So, it will be interesting. I hope an Indian can win the title in singles and doubles,’’ added Vishaal.

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