Lucknow girl’s French connection propels serve and volley dreams
Diva Bhatia, a 17-year-old tennis player from Lucknow, dreams of winning the French Open and becoming the world No. 1. She is dedicated to her training and has hired top coaches to help her achieve her goals. Diva has already achieved success in various tournaments and aims to win Junior Grand Slams in the next two years. Her parents fully support her passion for tennis and she is determined to make a name for herself in the sport.
Diva Bhatia of Lucknow is just 17 and dreams big, so much so that she aspires to win the French Open and see the Indian tricolour flying high at Roland Garros.
Determined to be world No. 1, she is leaving no stone unturned to realise her dream, putting in two hours of exercise and three hours of tennis practice and shunning social engagements.
“I want to be World No. 1 one day and would be happy to fly the Indian tricolour at Roland Garros by winning the French Open. I want to be Serena Williams of India and set a record in the sport,” said Diva who plays drums to beat stress.
“I followed Poland’s Iga Świątek initially and then it was Serena who has always been a consistent performer. Both Iga and Serena have almost a similar playing style. Mental strength makes a big difference,” said Diva, who has become a non-vegetarian to gain “extra energy.”
Diva has hired El Salvador’s former Davis Cup and Federation Cup captain Andres Weisskopf as coach and Argentine fitness coach Alejandro Lacour (fitness trainer of WTA 30 ranked player Kate Watson).
The two experts are helping her train well in Lucknow at a tennis facility on a five-star hotel premises for a month. Diva’s father Kapil Bhatia used to follow seven-time Wimbledon champion Steffi Graf and always wanted his daughter to play tennis. Before Diva took up the sport, he talked to her to find out how serious she was about the sport.
“My parents, including my mother Ritu Bhatia, always stood by my decision and I have promised to be a good tennis player one day and I want to be known in this world as Diva Bhatia and not as the daughter of well-established parents,” said the girl, who is currently No. 1 in U.P, among the top 10 in India and the top 700 in world in Under-18.
Diva started tennis at the age of 12, and never looked back, winning four titles in the last four months in the Latin America tournament tour. She tasted her first major success, finishing runner-up in zone-wise state level SGFI tournament in Agra in 2018. She went on to represent her state at the national level in Hyderabad, finishing as a semi-finalist.
She decided to work harder thereafter. After training for a year at Siri Fort in New Delhi in 2018-19, she went to Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in France to better her technique from 2019-22.
On developing her skills, she played and won national tournaments in France as well as Ten Pro Global International Junior tournament and made a good place for herself in French rankings, in both under-16 as well as women’s tournaments.
She now aims to win Junior Grand Slams within two years. Diva, who reached the semi-finals in Open Women’s Tournament at Guayaquil in Ecuador in South America this April, is out to play, win and make a place for herself in the top-100 juniors in the world.
Diva’s mother Ritu, who accompanies her everywhere and owns the Lucknow Aviators team in Delhi Pro Tennis League, said she has cut short her own work to 70 per cent only to let her daughter play tennis as much as she can.
“I have almost finished my social life and remain busy with my daughter so that she can continue her passion for tennis,” said Ritu, an architect by profession.
J60 Santo Domingo: Quarterfinalist in singles, and doubles too
J60 Mexico: Quarterfinalist in doubles
J60 Mexico: Quarterfinalist in doubles
J60 El Salvador: Quarterfinalist in singles and semi-finalist in doubles
J60 El Salvador: Runner-up in doubles
J30 Mexico: Quarterfinalist in singles and semi-finalist in doubles
J60 Mexico: Quarterfinalist in singles and semi-finalist in doubles
J30 Honduras: Winner in singles and runner-up in doubles
J30 Ecuador: Semi-finalist in singles and doubles
J60 El Salvador: Semi-finalist in singles and doubles
J60 Jamaica: Semi-finalist in doubles
J30 Nicaragua: Semi-finalist in singles and runner-up in doubles
J30 Nicaragua: Semi-finalist in singles and doubles