The Indian women’s tennis team being pruned to four members from six may be a setback, but coach Ankita Bhambri expressed confidence that Ankita Raina, Karman Kaur Thandi, Rutuja Bhosale and Prarthana Thombare would leave their mark in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
Getting ready for the preparatory camp along with the men’s team from Sunday, Ankita felt that it would be a good stint for the players to tune themselves, especially in terms of striking the best possible doubles combinations.
“Women’s tennis has always done well in the Asian Games. We will do well this time too”, said Ankita, who was a player in the Asian Games in Doha (2006) and Guangzhou (2010), before being a coach in the last edition in Palembang, Indonesia, in 2018.
“Last time, Ankita Raina had won the singles bronze. She is playing much better now. In fact, she may be joining the camp later, as she is competing in the WTA event in Japan”, said the coach, who has also been captain of the FedCup team.
Ankita acknowledged that all the players have been keeping themselves occupied in the professional circuit and had gained invaluable experience.
Ankita was also happy to be part of the team when her brother Yuki Bhambri would also be in the men’s team.
“I was with him for the French Open earlier. Last time, he was injured during the Asian Games. It will be nice to see him in action”, said Ankita, who does discuss a lot of tennis with Yuki to shape his career.
With no team competition and no restriction on the players from competing in singles, doubles and mixed doubles, Ankita felt that the team could deliver the best results, even though the load would be a little more on some players.
Rohan Bopanna playing such a fine match in the men’s doubles finals in the US Open, came for hearty praise from Ankita. She felt that Bopanna’s presence would be a huge morale booster for the Indian team. Bopanna, in partnership with Ankita Raina, could not reach the medal round last time in the Asian Games, even though he did win the men’s doubles gold with Divij Sharan. That record could possibly be set right this time.
“Of course, we will keep an open mind and see the best possible combinations during the camp,” observed Ankita Bhambri, who…