“Everybody’s been so friendly, I hope we can promote women’s tennis by being in Chennai this week” – Katie Swan on WTA returning to India

Katie Swan grabbed an emphatic 6-1, 6-2 win over Arianne Hartono in the first round of the 2022 Chennai Open. The 23-year-old, who is on track to secure a career-high ranking this week, will attempt to crack the top 150 rankings with a victory over Anastasia Gasanova (who beat top seed Alison Riske-Amritraj) in the next round.

In her post-match press conference, Swan spoke about her preparations ahead of the tournament, the growing popularity of women’s tennis in India, and her admiration for fellow Brit, Emma Raducanu. Indian Tennis Daily member Gauri Awasthi was part of the Q&A session.

Q: What’s the strategy when you’re playing a player like Hartono who is super aggressive?

Swan: She’s a great player; I knew it was going to be tough when I went into the match. I think for me it was about using my legs well. I haven’t played a match for about 5 weeks so it was going to be little bit tricky. So once I started to move well I could, sort of, predict what was going on from her side.

Q: Katie you can crack the top 150 in the world rankings with a win over Gasanova on Thursday. What is your mindset going to be like for the match when you have such a feat up for grabs?

Swan: Well I don’t know much about her but she obviously had a great win today against Alison. So yeah, I’m probably going to do a bit of research and watch the match back. I think I’ve been doing things well recently in training and that’s showing in my matches. So yeah, just continuing the way that I am.

Q: You had a very promising junior career, but the progress somewhere slowed down in the pro circuit due to recurring injury woes. Is that something that plays at the back of your head even now?

Swan: I’ve had a lot of difficulties with injuries, I’ve been fortunate that it hasn’t been anything too serious. I think the main thing right now is consistency and just trying to avoid missing too many days of training. I think training gives me confidence in the matches since I’ve done good work.

Q: You have signed up with Andy Murray’s management agency, 77 Sports Management. How do you feel about that?

Swan: It was a great feeling when I signed with the agency because getting to be involved with Andy in any kind of way is great. He’s someone I’ve always looked up to since I started playing tennis. So yeah it’s cool. He’s still focusing on his own career right now. I don’t get to see him that often but he’s always very nice when I do see him.

Q: Your compatriot, Emma Raducanu, had a very early exit from the US Open. Have you been able to speak with her since then?

Swan: We actually practiced together last week in London, obviously it’s a difficult result for her but I don’t think there’s any need to worry about her, she’s going to be fine. She had an unbelievable result last year. But so many players on the tour have great weeks and then they don’t follow up. It’s just a part of the women’s game. She’s an amazing player, she’s so young. She’s got so much time to keep going so yeah I wish her all the best.

To be honest I can’t imagine what it is like to have your life change over a fortnight. She was still top 10 after a year on the tour. I offered my support if she ever needed but I think she’s doing fine.

Q: How important do you feel it is for women’s tennis to reach places like India where there hasn’t been a WTA tournament for several years?

Swan: So I’ve never been to India. I was really excited when I saw the schedule. Everybody’s been so friendly and it’s nice to see so many people out there on centre court watching. I hope that we can promote women’s tennis more by being here this week. Hopefully, as the week goes on, more people come out to watch. It’s been fun so far.

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