Ankita Raina had a great week in Nonthaburi as she cliched both the singles and doubles(partnering Bibiane Schoofs) titles in the $25K ITF event. With this win in Thailand, she became only the second Indian woman after Sania Mirza to win 10 ITF titles. In an exclusive chat to the Indian Tennis Daily, she talks about her matches this week, travelling with her mom, how she assesses her improvements and much more-
All images are courtesy of ITF Thailand Tennis Championships/ The Lawn Tennis Association of Thailand
Q)You had a 0-2 record against Chloé Paquet with 3 set losses last year. What do you think was the difference today?
Didn’t remember actually that I’ve played her twice before, I just had in my mind that we played in Nottingham last year which was actually a warm up grass WTA event but due to rains I had to play this match indoors. That was also a close match as I remember and since she has a big serve and it being indoors she got added advantage. In today’s match, like I said I knew she had a good serve so I had it mind that returns and serves will be crucial! Plus I saw what was bothering her and played to it.
Q)You won both the singles and the doubles title this week – how tough was it to manage both and play so many matches.
I’ve always played singles and doubles in every tournament from the beginning so I’m used to playing two matches everyday. Of course as you play at the higher level it’s tougher because the intensity increases but doubles has always helped me and I enjoy it so I don’t mind playing that one more match.
Q) This must have been a special event with your Mom beside you.
Yes!! I travel a lot and also have been travelling alone since I was 14 years old so I rarely get time to spend with family. It was lovely having mom here beside me for matches, even just to have tag moral support makes a huge difference, it’s tough to explain the feeling but I can may be say I feel a bit calm.
Q) With the late cancellation of Fed Cup, has that impacted your schedule? (Would you be playing in Bangkok next week too)
Yes I’m going to stay here and will be playing the doubles event only as I had not entered singles due to Fed Cup week.
Q) You have had a solid beginning this year with clear signs of breaking into the top-150 now. Any specific improvements in your game that you would call out?
I usually leave it to my coach to talk about improvements because I feel he’s the best judge but I think it’s a process so I’ve to keep getting better, having said that I as a player personally I can see the improvement in a lot of aspects from the last one and a half year or so. Mainly I’d say mentally, being more calmer and as you get more matured and physically on court I feel I’m bit more lighter and faster.