Ankita Raina: I’ve not faced a financial burden

...the major expenses of a player are travelling for tournaments and the travel expenses of the coaching staff. Since there are no tournaments now, that cost is not a burden.

Sports, in general, have been hit because spectators will not be allowed and they are one of the important aspects of sports. Being a global sport, tennis has been affected the most due to the travel restrictions in place. I feel the international circuit could start around August-September, although not fully, and depending on the situation then I will think about flying abroad for tournaments.

I always believe that if India needs more players in the top 100 of the world rankings, then we should have more tournaments of $60,000 and above for women and more Challenger-level tournaments for men. This will give an opportunity for Indian players to compete without taking the financial burden and the stress due to it, so then naturally performance will also improve. As far as the WTA is concerned, we have had the WTA Mumbai Open (last held in 2018) which helped me and other Indian girls, but we need more corporate sponsors to come in and have a calendar of women’s events in India.

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Personally, as a tennis player, I have not faced a financial burden as the major expenses of a player are travelling for tournaments and the travel expenses of the coaching staff.

Since there are no tournaments now, that cost is not a burden. But I do feel that I have missed the opportunity to improve my ranking, especially when I was playing well, which would have given me the chance to get into the top 100 and at the same time earn some good prize money.

However, I always try to see that the glass is half full and so I feel this break has given me much-needed rest and also the time to improve my other skills. I’m learning more about sports and fitness, about meditation, yoga, and various other things.

Not only sportspersons, but the coronavirus will have an impact on everyone’s behaviour. People will be more cautious with hygiene, health, saving money, utilising time, spending more time with family and friends. Fitness will be the new mantra of life; yoga and meditation will be more popular among athletes and the general population. I feel COVID-19 will have a positive impact on people’s behaviour.

As told to Shyam Vasudevan