Interview with Indian U18 No.1 – Sharanya Gaware

Sharanya Gaware is a name that lot of Indian Tennis followers have become accustomed to, over the last year or two. The 16-yr old from Pune has represented India at the WTA Future Stars in Singapore, at the Road to Wimbledon event, in Japan and much more in her young career already. She has been the Champion at the Adidas-MCC Junior National Tennis Championship this year.

The trainee at the Aditya-Kaifi Tennis Academy (AKTA) took time out to speak to us in Singapore during the WTA Future Stars event.

P.S. Watch for the rapid fire at the end!

Interview by Surya Raj (sr28_sports) – 9th November, 2018

Could you share a bit of detail on how your journey into Tennis began. Did your family have background in Tennis too.

My family did not have any background in Tennis. My brother used to play different sports, he started playing Tennis – I used to follow him, watch and gradually developed interest in the sport myself.

What were the first set of tourneys that you played. When did you get the realization that you could pursue this seriously.

First couple of tourneys were the local U10 tourneys. After a while, after winning a few of them, I started to like the fierce competition involved. So started to pursue it as a career.

You had played the Road to Wimbledon tourney couple of times, made the final the second time in 2014 to play in London. First of all – how did you prepare your game for Grass Court tennis and can you share more detail on your journey through those 2 years.

The first year, I did qualify for the knockouts. I was disappointed about it. My coaches worked really hard with me since then and I wanted to make it happen this time, glad I was able to.

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How was the experience of playing at the Wimbledon. Any interesting experiences?

It is every player’s dream to play on the prestigious grass courts at the Wimbledon. I was very happy that I got the opportunity. It was a good exposure for me at this young age.

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Sharanya Gaware with the Wimbledon T-Shirt. Photo credits: Indian Express

You reached the women’s final in AITA 1-Lakh tourney in Chandigarh this June in your very first Women’s tourney. How was the experience there as a youngster playing against the big girls.

I wasn’t really expecting myself to make the finals. I was just a qualifier and I was probably going to make 1-2 rounds in the main draw. Goal was to get accustomed to this stage. I just took it one match at a time and the matches against the big girls was by itself a motivating factor. Making the finals was just the icing on the cake.

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Sharanya with the Runners-up trophy. Photo credits: MSLTA

You won the prestigious Adidas-MCC junior National tennis championships this year winning against the likes of Salsa Aher, Prinkle Singh and Humera Sheikh in straight sets. Can you take us through your experience in that tourney?

That tournament is one of my greatest achievements. Winning the nationals is a big deal and winning against the likes of Humera, Salsa and Prinkle was really amazing. I worked really hard to get there. I was happy that I was able to win it.

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Sharanya Gaware – Champion at the Nationals. Photo Credits: MSLTA

As you had qualified for the WTA Future Stars in Singapore. Any special preparation that you had done for this tourney?

I worked just as hard for this tourney as I did for the other tournaments. We worked on the foot-work, serve, hitting the ball harder and so on.

Here in Singapore, you won 4 matches losing just 3 games. However, you had a close loss against the Uzbek girl – Setora Normurodova. How do you assess the match from your perspective?

I had played couple of good matches. The girl from Uzbekistan definitely had a good game but I don’t think I played to my full potential. I had a bit of jetlag for 15 hours. I wasn’t used to the surface a bit as I was playing on the carpet courts in Japan. It is overall a learning experience for me.

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Sharanya Gaware and Sanjana Sirimalla at the WTA Future Stars event

You have been training with Aditya Kaifi Academy. Your usual training routines and schedule.

We do drills, rallies, situation points, play sets. We also do Gym, Cardio, Agility and all that stuff.

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Sharanya with her coaches Mr. Kaifi Afzal and Mr. Aditya Madkekar – Founders of the Aditya-Kaifi Tennis Academy (AKTA)

Academically as well, you have been a very bright student. You score greater than 95% grades all the time at Symbiosis Secondary School. This requires strong focus. How do you balance both?

It Is all about time-management. You have to be good in both Education and Sports and you can’t just throw education away.

Tennis is a very expensive sport, any support that you receive from MSLTA as such?

MSLTA has been a huge support for me for some time now. I am also sponsored by Lakshya, Sony and Babolat.

For people who have not seen your game. What do you call out as your strengths and areas to improve in your game.

I am confident stroke maker and an aggressive baseliner.

Plans/Goals for the next year or two vis-a-vis your tennis career.

I hope to play in the Junior Grand Slams next year.

Rapid fire

Hobbies Watching TV and Reading
Favourite food item Sushi and Pasta
Favourite Tourney amongst the ones you have played so far Chennai Nationals
Favourite movie Shawshank Redemption
Favourite travel destination Goa & several places abroad
A place that you haven’t been to but would like to visit New York
Favourite author and book Agatha Christie
Best win of your career so far Chennai Nationals
A loss that hurt you the most and why Every loss hurts
If not Tennis, alternate career track Medicine probably

BONUS – More pictures! – From the WTA Future Stars 2018

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