Determined but ever smiling, that’s Nirupama Vaidyanathan Sanjeev for you. At a time when no one knew of professional Indian women tennis players, this 36-year-old from Coimbatore ventured into uncharted territory and scripted a path which youngsters have benefited from.
From trying to make it to the gruelling European circuit all alone to witnessing the pains and near misses to becoming the first Indian woman to reach the second round of the Australian Open in 1998, Nirupama has seen it all. “I aimed to crack the top-100. Had I aimed for top 10, I could have been higher ranked,” explained ‘The Moonballer’.
Deciding to pen her tennis journey, the title of Nirupama’s first book recalls her modest beginning. “I had beaten the best in India with the Moonball style,” she said. Written with flair and frankness, Nirupama’s book raises pertinent questions. Especially, her relationship with the national federation. “I’m not looking to sensationalise things,” she said. But then shouldn’t sports federations try and take help from experienced players?
“They didn’t care when I offered expertise... not every sportsperson is capable of running a federation. But changes can be brought about.”