“Tennis”, a sport that isn’t widely renowned in India. In fact, it’s a sport that not many rural Indians have even heard of!!! So, when Leander Paes won a Bronze at the 1996 Olympics it was a pleasant surprise for many of our countrymen. The Indian tennis team at Tokyo 2020 isn’t one of India’s medal hopes, despite that we cannot ignore the fact that the 3 athletes in this team are terrific. The team is a great combination of youth and experience. It comprises the awesome trio of Sumit Nagal, Sania Mirza, and Ankita Raina.
Sania Mirza (First Round Women’s doubles): –
The most illustrious name of the contingent is definitely India’s pride, Padma Bhushan Sania Mirza. Winning around 6 grand slams in her career and successfully bagging the World Number 1 spot in Women’s Doubles, she has more than just proved her mettle. Right from her debut in ‘03 to her retirement in ‘13, Sania was ranked the number 1 Indian Women’s tennis player. Be it the racket in hand or the promotion of the products off the field, Sania has always had the limelight.
2008 proved to be one of the most difficult periods of her life as the media had made a mockery of her choice to marry Shoaib Malik, the then captain and a resident of the so-called rival nation Pakistan. Fighting through all of this definitely has made Sania mentally stronger. Although she crashed out of the first round of the Women’s doubles at Tokyo alongside Ankita Raina, hopes are high for the mixed team event.
Sumit Nagal (Second Round Men’s singles): –
A lesser-known prospect from this sport and a relatively inexperienced but profound individual is Sumit Nagal. Sumit, a regular member of India’s Davis Cup squad, Sumit, 23-year-old is bound to get better. Coming in from Haryana’s Jhajjar, Sumit is an apprentice of Mahesh Bhupati’s tennis academy. Sumit doesn’t have any Grand Slam to his name, but I am sure that his best is yet to come as a critic. Sumit did qualify for the second round of Men’s Singles at Tokyo but lost to Daniil Medvedev of Russia in it. Sumit joined hands with Sania for the Mixed event but the two failed to cut because of their low combined ranking (153).
Ankita Raina (First Round Women’s doubles): –
Ankita was first noticed when she won a Grand Slam at the WTA. She too is a veteran in the true sense and has an experience of 300+ on the international level. She broke through the top 200 women’s tennis players and grabbed the eyeballs of the nation once again. Hailing from Pune, Ankita had joined hands with Sania for the doubles but as mentioned earlier their campaign was blown away in the first round itself. Constantly featuring in India’s Davis Cup team, Ankita has always proved what she is capable of on her day!!