MELBOURNE: Ankita Raina on Sunday grew to become solely the third Indian woman tennis participant to safe a spot in the main draw of a Grand Slam as she made the minimize for the ladies’s doubles occasion of the Australian Open.
The 12 months’s first Grand Slam begins right here on Monday.
After lacking out on the ladies’s singles main draw, she nonetheless had an opportunity to qualify as a ‘fortunate loser’ until the completion of the primary spherical, however the 28-year-old realised a long-time dream when she signed up with Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnecu and earned a direct entry.
Only Sania Mirza and Nirupama Vaidyanathan have competed in the Grand Slam main attracts for India earlier than.
Ankita is simply the second Indian after Sania, a six-time Grand Slam champion, to compete in the ladies’s doubles of a tennis main. Nirupama was the primary to crack a Grand Slam main draw, again in 1998 at Australian Open.
The braveheart, who performed a key function in Indian Fed Cup group’s super progress, mentioned though singles maintain a unique significance, making the doubles too is particular.
“It’s first main draw of a Grand Slam, so singles or doubles, I’ll take it. It’s particular. Years of laborious work, toil and now I’m there. Not solely my laborious work however blessings and help of numerous folks have introduced me right here, I am unable to overlook that,” Ankita instructed PTI moments after getting confirming her entry.
“I do know it is doubles however India’s title might be there. These are the moments that spark one thing amongst folks. Maybe a number of will begin dreaming that it is potential,” she added.
“People begin believing. We contact many small milestones however this one is at a pinnacle. Anyone who begins taking part in skilled tennis, goals of taking part in in a Grand Slam.”
“Regardless of the truth that it’s doubles, I’ll take it. I saved at it. I stayed in the method. Maybe subsequent time, I’ll play singles too. After years of laborious work, it’s beginning with doubles however singles will occur. It’s first, so particular,” she added.
Ankita mentioned initially she didn’t discover her title in the draw and was dissatisfied.
“I am unable to consider it, I missed my title in the sheet. After follow I requested for the draw and frantically appeared for my title. I didn’t discover it. Then my coach known as me to say I’ve made it,” she mentioned.
Ankita had signed up with Romanian southpaw Mihaela, who was a top-50 singles participant earlier than damage pegged her again, on Friday.
They will open their marketing campaign in opposition to Australian wild card pair of Olivia Gadecki and Belinda Woolcock.
“A pal instructed me that Mihaela is on the lookout for a companion. I spoke to her and she or he agreed. I’ve not performed together with her earlier than however I’ve performed with a lefty on the tour. It make a very good mixture. I’m trying ahead to it.”
Now India can have 4 Indians competing in the season’s first Grand Slam.
Sumit Nagal will compete in the lads’s singles whereas Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan will current their problem in the lads’s doubles with their respective companions.
Nagal has drawn Lithiania’s Ricardas Berankis as his first spherical opponent.
Bopanna and his Japanese companion Ben McLachlan will tackle Korean wild card entrants Ji Sung Nam and Min-Kyu Song.
Sharan and his Slovakian companion Igor Zelenay will tackle German combo of Yannick Hanfmann and Kevin Krawietz.