National champion Rutuja Bhosale is in the race to finish ahead of her peers in the next two months and possibly pair up with Sania Mirza in the London Olympic Games doubles event.
A good showing in the Junior Fed Cup last month, where she won crucial matches, has helped her regain confidence. And, with three more ITF tournaments lined up in the Capital before the team is selected for the Olympics, the 16-year-old is hoping to be in contention.
She is banking on her performance in the Australian Open, where she reached the semifinals in junior category, to give her the edge. However, her focus remains on her singles performance. "I am working on my fitness right now as I think that is one area where I am lagging," Rutuja said.
"We are two-three girls who are competing to be Sania's partner and we are playing more tournaments for the last couple of months to improve our rankings."
Rutuja is ranked 60th in junior world rankings behind Delhi's Ratnika Batra (39). On the WTA charts, she is at 797th spot - fourth in the list of players in the top-500 - a far cry from Sania's 191st rank.
Her quarterfinal appearance in a Grade-I junior tournament in the Philippines was a morale-booster for her, especially after a string of losses in the early rounds of previous events.
"That week was good for me, I felt like I am back in the zone and mentally stronger."
She recalls a practice set she played with Sania during the Fed Cup in China.
"We were practicing and played one set for points. I was feeling very nervous because she was hitting with a lot of force," said Rutuja, remembering Sania's powerful shots.