“Sania has given belief to Indian women that we can take on the world” – Ankita Raina

Ankita justified her qualifying wildcard as she went toe to toe with the WTA #100 Tomova before going down 6-3 1-6 4-6 in the WTA 1000 Dubai Duty Free Championships. The led the Bulgarian 4-1 in the deciding set before the Bulgarian upped her game.

Talking to Indian Tennis Daily on the sidelines, Ankita shared her thoughts about the game and also about Sania Mirza, who will be playing her farewell tournament here.

Q.What were your thoughts on the match?

Ankita : These kind of matches are heart piercing, I know I had the opportunity and I was playing good but couple crucial points/ chances that I didn’t convert costed the match.

Q.What about your fitness level? Is there anything you’ve been working on, has it been improving, what do you think?

Ankita : I feel it’s much better than last year, wasn’t healthy back then and it took a while to get back. But yes have been working on strength and agility and i can see it on court during matches.

Q.You recieved a wild card for this tournament. what do you think about that and the opportunity at hand?

Ankita : I’m very grateful to the tournament director Mr. Salah Tahlak for giving me the wildcard, it’s a very prestigious event! Every player on tour looks forward to coming to this event as everything is taken care of really well. For me especially Dubai holds a special place, I love coming back here. So I’ll say it was golden opportunity.

Q. Sania mirza has undoubtedly impacted women’s tennis, and Indian tennis over the decades. What do you think about her retirement, and her impact on you both personally and professionally, and her role in the tennis field?

Ankita : It’s tough news firstly,but it’s something every athlete has to go through. However the kind of career she’s had one can only dream of it. She’s given the belief to Indian women that we can take on the world and not just get there but perform at the elite level. For me she’s always been an inspiration while growing up and through out and be able to share the court with her, are some of the best memories I’ve of her. Off court as well there’s so much to learn from her, with all the injuries and coming back after giving birth.All these things show the character and that’s the reason she’s been no. 1 in the world.

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