Top 100 in sight, Ankita Raina - fit as a beast - talks the power game
Rigorous travelling, disciplined workout sessions and practice are the 27-year-old tennis star’s devotion to the sport.Updated: Mar 20, 2020 16:58 IST
PUNE From 2014 to 2020, Ankita Raina has developed physically to be one of the fittest tennis players on the Indian circuit and possible, in the manner of Sania Mirza, one of the hardest hitters of the tennis ball.
Rigorous travelling, disciplined work out sessions and practice are Raina’s routine and devotion is the work that comes to mind when we encounter the tennis star.
“Travelling has increased every year. I always preferred to play lot of tennis and 2019 was the year where I competed in the 32 tournaments and so far it was the best year, as I competed in all the four grand slams. Slowly and steadily I am approaching the top 100,” says Raina, who is currently ranked 163 in singles and 122 in doubles.
Fresh from her Fed Cup heroics, Raina is completely focussing on physical training currently as there will be no tennis action for the next six weeks due to Covid-19.
“I will take the time as a blessing in disguise as it will allow me to solely focus on fitness training. Last year due to tournaments I could not do my pre-season, but now the current scenario allows me to focus on full-fledged training,” says Raina.
Fitter and stronger
With Pune having a bunch of players - Salsa Aher, Vaishnavi Adkar, Snehal Mane, Gargi Pawar – all showing tennis talent, Raina’s advise is to focus on getting fitter and stronger.
“Girls need to get fitter and stronger, physically. They should also focus on playing more tournaments because it is very important and their coaches should properly plan their schedule,” says Raina.
The Fed Cup
The standout from the Indian team qualifying for the World Group play off for the first time, was Raina’s ability to play with little recovery time.
“The doubles match used to end at 12 midnight and then recover till 3am, and go to bed. I had to play two matches again the next day. I did manage this without any fatigue. It is something I am glad I did and am thankful to my coaching staff,” adds Raina.
“Having someone (coach, physio or mother) with you during tour helps a lot as you can rely on them for small-small things and it gives you time to focus on the matches. Having a physio during the Fed Cup helped recover faster,” added Raina, who is supported by Sports Authority of Gujarat and Adani Group.
Recent singles titles
January 2019 – $25K Singapore ITF bt Arantxa Rus (Ned) 6-3, 6-2
December 2019 – $25K Solapur ITF bt Naiktha Bains (GBR) 6-3, 6-3
January 2020 -- $25K Nonhaburi, Tahiland bt Chloe Paquet (Fra) 6-3, 7-5
February 2020 – $25K Jodhpur, India bt Berfu Cengiz (Tur) 7-5, 6-1
Recent doubles titles
December 2019 – $25K Solapur ITF (Partnering Ulrikke Eikeri (Nor)) bt Berfu Cengiz (Tur) and Despina Papamichali (Gre) 5-7, 6-4, 10-3
January 2020 -- $25K Nonhaburi, Thailand (Partnering Bibiane Schoofs (Ned) bt Supapitch Kuearum and Mananchaya Sawangkaew 6-4, 6-2
January 2020 -- $25K Nonhaburi, Thailand (Partnering Bibiane Schoofs (Ned) bt Miyabi Inoue (Jpn) and Kang Jiaqi (Chn) 6-2, 3-6, 10-7