Ankita Raina almost pulled off what would have been the best victory of her career against 64th ranked Katerina Siniakova at the ITF $100K(+H) Al Habtoor Tennis Challenger in Dubai. Ankita is scheduled to play in the doubles competition partnering Ekaterine Gorgodze from Georgia
Post her fighting performance, Ankita caught up with Krishnakumar Ji from our team. Here are the excerpt from the chat –
Q) Well played Ankita! How was it being back in Dubai after your success here during the Fed Cup ties?
I wasn’t planning to play this tournament and I was supposed to be in Australia by mid of December owing to the quarantine restrictions, but since the Australian Open got postponed I changed my plans and thought of coming to play here. I always enjoy playing in Dubai, the conditions suit me very well and also considering my last performance here in Dubai it definitely was the best choice.
Q) What are your thoughts on the match?
Well I have played at this venue before. I’ve also played against her and watched couple of her matches before. I think I started off really well. Second set was very crucial, I had my chances during the middle of second set but she got the lead and after that the momentum shifted, and she got confidence. Regardless, I started the third set confidently. I wanted to stick to my game plan but a few points here and there and she was winning them. She started controlling the match once she caught the lead and that’s how the match turned out in her favour.
Q) You have played plenty of top 100 WTA players now like Stosur, Wang, Putintseva. What is it that you have learnt playing against these players?
It is just that you have to stick to your game plan and there would be times when these players would be playing lights out tennis. You have to try to analyse during those moments and still give your best.
Q) Thanks to the COVID situation, there was a big layoff in your professional circuit. What did you utilise this time for?
I had never stayed for this long with my family since a very long time and thanks to the COVID situation I got to do so. I still tried to do my workouts during my stay at home which I usually did not before. I was also involved in doing a few webinars, workshops and interviews as well. I was really looking forward to travelling again and getting back on tour and I am glad that I got that opportunity.
Q) Since your return to the circuit you’ve played tournaments in places like United States of America as well as the Europe countries. How is it playing in this situation now?
Definitely travel is not a leisure now like it used to be. We have to be very cautious but the situation is improving right now and we are getting better.
To some extent it is definitely stressful since you have to plan well before time, take your test and hope that they’re negative. In the last three months, I’ve been testing myself at least once every week and they have been negative throughout, thankfully.
Q) How do you like to sum up this year – it has definitely been a very difficult year so far?
I mean during the beginning of this year, in terms of tennis performance and my results, it was really good you know. I started well with the warmup events to the Australian Open, won a few ITF events in Thailand, Jodhpur and also to be qualified for the very first time into the world group playoffs in Fed Cup. But even with the pandemic, we are learning quite a few lessons and one of that would be that of importance of patience in life.
Q) What is it that you are looking forward to in the year 2021 and what are your goals?
As far as the Australian Open is concerned, we still have no news regarding where the qualifiers will be held as they have still not decided it right now. I will be going back home and training there and I am waiting for their statement.
Overall, I do not have any set goals and I sincerely hope that the situation improves. Things are changing every week. I really hope that the calendar goes back to how it was before. We still have no news about the Olympics. Just hoping that everything goes back to normal.