Karman Kaur Thandi welcomes idea of India hosting a WTA tour event in 2022
Indian tennis player Karman Kaur Thandi has welcomed the notion of India hosting a WTA 250 event later this year. The Chennai Open, an annual ATP 250 event which was last staged in 2018, is all set to return in a new avatar later in 2022 as Vijay Amritraj, president of the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association (TNTA) expressed hope of a new WTA 250 competition which is likely to be staged after the US Open (September 2nd week) and before the start of the Northeast monsoon. It will also be the first WTA tournament in India since the WTA 125K series in Mumbai.
In an exclusive conversation with Hindustan Times, Karman, who was part of the 2018 tournament after receiving a wildcard into the singles draw, said, “Previously it was Mumbai. It is indeed good for Indian players because there is something happening in our own country. So it is a big, big thing for us to have a WTA 250 event. There are already two in the men’s so having this one will be a great opportunity for players as well.”
The 23-year-old, who last played in Glasgow in mid-February, was slated to be part of the Indian team in the Billie Jean King Cup Asia-Oceania competition for the World Group play-off, but missed out owing to a wrist injury. But Karman revealed that her recovery is right on track and is expected to return to competition later this month.
“Yes it is getting better and is almost good now. And I will start competing at the end of this month, so everything is in place.” she said.
Karman played the better half of her 2021 season in the European circuit where she often found herself in nail-biting three-setters. But the experience and the confidence she gained from playing in “one of the toughest circuits in the world”, helped her all the way through in the $25,000 ITF event in Ortisei, Italy in November where she reached the final after surviving in all four games that went to the deciding set before falling to World No. 195 Susan Bandecchi in the summit clash.
“We all know that playing in the European circuit is one of the toughest in the world. And for me, not playing a lot of competitions before Italy was something where I just came back into competition. Getting good matches and good wins there gave me a lot of confidence there and I felt that even after not playing a lot of matches in the build-up to the competition, I could sustain at that level. But then during the quarterfinal, I pulled my abs, but I kept pushing because I had this feeling that I was playing well and everything was in the zone and that gave me a good confidence to stay and compete at that level. And despite the injury, for which my ranking had dropped, I was still able to compete against the players who were in the top-200, top-150 bracket. That was certainly a test for myself as to where I stand,” said the Delhi girl. “Playing on clay and hard courts in the toughest circuit is not easy. Even players who are ranked 500-600, you never know, they might end of playing better. So there are no easy matches there.”
Despite the impressive turnaround in Italy, Aditya Sachdeva, the technical director of RoundGlass Tennis Academy and who has mentored her since the age of 13, feels she still has a long way to go.
“For me, it is still a work in progress. I am never satisfied that she is playing very well. For me, I am always striving for her. I still feel that she has a lot of potential in her and the best is yet to come,” he told the website.
Aditya, who has more than 20 years of top-level experience and has coached and developed 25 national champions, 10 of whom have even represented India in the prestigious Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup, then shared his idea on the RoundGlass Tennis Academy which is now holding a scholarship program for young talents.
“The whole idea came to me through Sunny Singh (Founder of RoundGlass Tennis Academy), our visions met and it is possibly the best opportunity an athlete can ever get. We are looking at the holistic development of the child using well-being as one of the main systems. The idea is to get everything for the athlete, from their education to their accommodation, nutrition and well-being, including the sport and tournaments – everything is taken care of. And having a system where we have strength and conditioning, rehabilitation all under one roof which makes it easier for the athlete rather than run around to different parts and make it happen. So yes that is a great program and we already shortlisted 15 kids – 10 boys and 5 girls. I feel this should make a change,” he said.