Six-time champion says Indian girls will get to understand highest level of tennis
Every challenge is an opportunity to step out of one’s comfort zone and grow into a better person.
Sania Mirza believes that it is a great opportunity, especially for Ankita Raina, Rutuja Bhosale and Karman Kaur Thandi, when India faces the formidable Latvia in its backyard in the Billie Jean King Cup.
It is a well-earned honour for the Indian’s women’s team to be competing in the World Group play-off. By competing hard, the Indian players would be able to convince themselves about the path of progress lying ahead of them.
Nothing to lose
“I just want to tell them, you have nothing to lose. It is really an amazing opportunity, experience and exposure to understand the highest level of tennis.
“In [Jelena] Ostapenko and [Anasija] Sevastova, you have a Grand Slam champion, and someone who has been in the top-50 in the world for a while. Just put your head down and play with your heart. The pressure is on them, not on you. Enjoy the moment,” said the six-time Grand Slam champion Sania, when queried about her message for the team.
The Indian team has assembled in Jurmala for the tie to be played on indoor hard courts on April 16 and 17, against former French Open champion Ostapenko and Latvia No. 1 Sevastova.
“Ankita is a bit ahead of the other girls, in terms of ranking at least. She has got a WTA event under her belt which is amazing. All three, to make that next big step, need to do a few things right and a lot of things have to fall into place. They have all put in the hard work. It is about clicking at the right time.
“Playing good tennis during the opportunities they get, they can really step it up and move forward. I think Ankita is a little closer to that than the other two. Karman is someone who is very very talented.
“She is still young. I think that staying injury free is the most important thing for her,” said Sania, as she viewed her teammates’ prospects.
Even as she focuses on the job at hand, Sania was willing to look at the bigger picture for the season, the Tokyo Olympics.
“I am preparing for Tokyo. With the COVID situation, we have to take it day by day. I am playing as much as I can under the circumstances. I am looking forward to my fourth Olympics. It is an honour to represent India.”