US tennis player Sunitha Rao wants to play for India | india | Hindustan Times
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US tennis player Sunitha Rao wants to play for India

Rao is currently ranked 161 in the WTA listings, which is nine ranks lower than her all time high two years back.

india Updated: Sep 20, 2005 19:17 IST

Sunitha Rao, the US-born Indian origin tennis player, says she wants to represent the country of her origin someday, but her immediate goal is to break into the top 100 WTA rankings.

In 2003, when India's tennis officials approached Rao to play for India in the Federation Cup, her father had reportedly asked for monetary compensation. Rao resented that and had fallen out with her father.

"It's my dream to play for India someday. Let's see what happens," she told reporters here Saturday, ahead of the $170,000 WTA Sunfeast tournament in which she will feature.

Rao said there was no problem with her father in connection with playing in India. "In fact he is coming to see me play here."

The New Jersey-based youngster said she was desperate to play well at the tournament so that she could earn points and improve her rankings.

"I want to break into the top 100 by the end of this year. For that I really need to play very well and I plan to do so in this tournament too. I don't know what will be the result, but I plan to give my best."

Rao got a direct entry in the main draw after German Merlene Weingartner withdrew from the competition.

"It feels great to get a direct entry into the main draw. I will play my best tennis," she said.

Rao is currently ranked 161 in the WTA listings, which is nine ranks lower than her all time high two years back.

Asked how she felt about the fact that Sania Mirza was hogging all the limelight, she said, "It's okay. She has played really well and she deserves the attention. But I am sure I will get my share of support."

On her preparations, Rao said: "I just reached the semis of Challenger in Beijing and feel I am fighting fit. I am playing well and hope to carry my form into the tournament."

First Published: Sep 20, 2005 19:17 IST