Ankita Raina on Sunday grew to become solely the third Indian lady tennis participant to safe a spot in the primary draw of a Grand Slam as she made the minimize for the ladies’s doubles occasion of the Australian Open. The year’s first Grand Slam begins in Melbourne on Monday. After lacking out on the ladies’s singles essential draw, she nonetheless had an opportunity to qualify as a ‘fortunate loser’ until the completion of the primary spherical, but the 28-year-old realised a long-time dream when she signed up with Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu and earned a direct entry.
Solely Sania Mirza and Nirupama Vaidyanathan have competed within the Grand Slam essential attracts for India earlier than.
Ankita is barely the second Indian after Sania, a six-time Grand Slam champion, to compete within the girls’s doubles of a tennis main. Nirupama was the primary to crack a Grand Slam essential draw, again in 1998 at Australian Open.
The braveheart, who performed a key function in Indian Fed Cup staff’s super progress, mentioned though singles maintain a distinct significance, making the doubles too is particular.
“It is first essential draw of a Grand Slam, so singles or doubles, I’ll take it. It is particular. Years of onerous work, toil and now I’m there. Not solely my onerous work but blessings and help of numerous individuals have introduced me right here, I am unable to overlook that,” Ankita advised PTI moments after getting confirming her entry.
“I do know it is doubles but India’s identify might be there. These are the moments that spark one thing amongst individuals. Possibly a number of will begin dreaming that it is potential,” she added.
“Individuals begin believing. We contact many small milestones but this one is at a pinnacle. Anybody who begins taking part in skilled tennis, goals 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 onerous work, it’s beginning with doubles but singles will occur. It is first, so particular,” she added.
Ankita mentioned initially she didn’t discover her identify within the draw and was upset.
“I am unable to consider it, I missed my identify within the sheet. After observe I requested for the draw and frantically regarded for my identify. I didn’t discover it. Then my coach known as me to say I’ve made it,” she mentioned.
Ankita had signed up with Romanian southpaw Mihaela, who was a top-50 singles participant earlier than damage pegged her again, on Friday.
They are going to open their marketing campaign in opposition to Australian wild card pair of Olivia Gadecki and Belinda Woolcock.
“A good friend advised me that Mihaela is searching for a companion. I spoke to her and he or she agreed. I’ve not performed along with her earlier than but I’ve performed with a lefty on the tour. It make mixture. I’m trying ahead to it.”
Now 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 Lithiania’s Ricardas Berankis as his first spherical opponent.
Bopanna and his Japanese companion Ben McLachlan will tackle Korean wild card entrants Ji Sung Nam and Min-Kyu Tune.
Sharan and his Slovakian companion Igor Zelenay will tackle German combo of Yannick Hanfmann and Kevin Krawietz
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