India’s number 1 women’s singles tennis player Ankita Raina has given an exclusive interview to SportsMirchi.com in which she tells that India has got good chances in upcoming Asian Games and it’s high percentage of coming top in men’s and women’s events at Jakarta and Palembang.
Ankita has claimed six singles and 13 doubles title till date in her ITF tour career. She’ll be India’s major hope at the Asian Games in Indonesia and in future international WTA tennis events.
Here is the interview
Q. Serena and Federer are your inspirations to play tennis. Do you follow any other sporting personality that you think he/she inspires you? If yes, then why?
A. For me this is how it works, if any Indian does well at the international level it gives me that extra motivation and push to get better and makes my belief stronger. So be it Sania Mirza, Yuki Bhambri, PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Hima Das, Mary Kom, etc.
I do follow a bit of cricket sometimes but only when the players I like are in action and one of them is Virat Kohli. I think one has a lot to learn from him, the way he handles pressure and also I’ve seen his interviews, one can see that he is a player of a different league completely.
Q. You are India’s no. 1 women’s tennis player at the moment. Does it add more pressure to perform Or boosts morale to get better and better?
A. Both I’d say! In some situations it’s pressure but the pressure is always to do better and get better, so that’s in a good way and I believe that pressure is privilege. Plus this has been one of my dreams that came true(becoming India no.1 and representing Indian team) so I would do anything to have it, also I want to inspire young girls and this is my chance.
Q. Asian Games are around the corner. How much you are prepared for the tournament?
A. Firstly I’m excited as Asian Games is held every 4 years so I’m eagerly looking forward to it. As tennis players we are always working and trying to improve and get better each day but there are a few things I’ve done specially to prepare for the Asian Games. So I’ve been doing whatever is required I have had good performances recently starting from November last year during WTA Mumbai Open, then this year at the Fed Cup in Delhi and few other titles and performances. My belief is stronger and confidence is higher which I consider as being prepared.
Q. You made it to third round in 2014 Asian Games and lost it against Eri Hozumi. So how much you have learnt in these 4 years which can take you all the way at 2018 tournament?
A. Yes I remember that match, I lost in 3 sets and had my chances in the individual event. Asian Games 2014 itself was a great learning experience, in the team event I lost a very close match to a top 30 player named Shvedova. I think from then I’ve become more matured as a person and then naturally as a player, which I think makes a big difference. Also I’ve got better in my game and stronger physically which is helping me in my matches against the top players.
Q. India has got lots of hopes from you in upcoming Asiads. So can we expect one from you?
A. Not only India but I myself have lots of hopes and I think the hopes are there because I know I’m capable of achieving that. Like I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve had good performances this year and I’m going to do my best to continue that. I’ve always had the best performances while playing for the country.
Q. What chances do you think India have to win Gold in tennis event?
A. I think the chances are high in both men’s and women’s as. The men’s team of Ram, Prajnesh, Sumit and two stalwarts Leander and Rohan have had good performances and are capable of winning medals. Also in women’s Myself, Karman Prarthana, Rutuja, Pranjala and Riya have had good results in the past and are capable.
Q. How many gold medals India can win at 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia?
A. I am not sure if anyone can predict this but one thing I can say confidently, we all are eager and will give more than 100% to make India proud. We definitely will miss Sania but with Rohan and Leander to guide and encourage us Indian team would be giving its best.
Thank you so much Ankita for this short interview. SportsMirchi team wishes you all the very best for upcoming Asian Games in Indonesia.