Ankita Raina on February 7 grew to become solely the fifth Indian girl tennis participant in Open period to safe a spot in the principle draw of a Grand Slam as she made the reduce for the ladies’s doubles occasion of the Australian Open.
The yr’s first Grand Slam begins right here on February 8.
After lacking out on the ladies’s singles important draw, she nonetheless had an opportunity to qualify as a ‘fortunate loser’ until the completion of the primary spherical, however the 28-year-old realised her long-time dream when she signed up with Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnecu and earned a direct entry.
Nirupama Mankad (1971), Nirupama Vaidyanathan (1998), Sania Mirza and Indian-American Shikha Uberoi (2004) have competed within the Grand Slam important attracts for the nation.
Ankita is simply the second Indian after Sania, a six-time Grand Slam champion, to compete within the ladies’s doubles of a tennis main.
Nirupama was the primary to crack a singles Grand Slam important draw, again in 1998 at Australian Open, whereas Nirupama Mankad performed the 1971 Wimbledon blended doubles with Anand Amritraj.
Shikha had competed within the 2004 U.S. Open and reached the singles second spherical.
The braveheart, who performed a key function in Indian Fed Cup group’s super progress, stated though singles maintain a special significance, making the doubles too is particular.
“It’s first important draw of a Grand Slam, so singles or doubles, I’ll take it. It’s particular. Years of laborious work, toil and now I’m there. Not solely my laborious work however blessings and assist of numerous individuals have introduced me right here, I can’t neglect that,” Ankita informed PTI after her entry.
“I do know it’s doubles however India’s identify will probably be there. These are the moments that spark one thing amongst individuals. Possibly a number of will begin dreaming that it’s potential,” she added.
“Individuals begin believing. We contact many small milestones however this one is at a pinnacle. Anybody who begins taking part in skilled tennis, desires of taking part in in a Grand Slam.” “No matter the truth that it’s doubles, I’ll take it. I saved at it. I stayed within the course of. Possibly subsequent time, I’ll play singles too. After years of laborious work, it’s beginning with doubles however singles will occur. It’s first, so particular,” she added.
Ankita stated initially she didn’t discover her identify within the draw and was dissatisfied.
“I can’t imagine it, I missed my identify within the sheet. After observe I requested for the draw and frantically appeared for my identify. I didn’t discover it. Then my coach referred to as me to say I’ve made it,” she stated.
Ankita had signed up with Romanian southpaw Mihaela, who was a top-50 singles participant earlier than harm pegged her again, on February 6.
They are going to open their marketing campaign in opposition to Australian wild card pair of Olivia Gadecki and Belinda Woolcock.
“A buddy informed me that Mihaela is on the lookout for a accomplice. I spoke to her and she or he agreed. I’ve not performed together with her earlier than however I’ve performed with a lefty on the tour. It make a very good mixture. I’m wanting ahead to it.”
India’s Fed Cup captain Vishal Uppal stated the feat will give Ankita extra perception. “It’s good that she has acquired alternative to play with one of the best. It can give her the idea that she belongs there. She is a really laborious working, industrious participant,” Uppal informed PTI. “She retains combating. She is looking for her ft within the massive league. She is a strong baseliner, if she provides a few variations she will be able to get higher,” he added.
India could have 4 Indians competing within the season’s first Grand Slam.
Sumit Nagal will compete within the males’s singles whereas Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan will current their problem within the males’s doubles with their respective companions.
Nagal has drawn Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis as his first spherical opponent.
Bopanna and his Japanese accomplice Ben McLachlan will tackle Korean wild card entrants Ji Sung Nam and Min-Kyu Track.
Sharan and his Slovakian accomplice Igor Zelenay will tackle German combo of Yannick Hanfmann and Kevin Krawietz.