The importance of travelling with a coach

Traveling with a coach, a rare luxury for Ankita Raina, will not be such a rarity anymore, and that should hasten her progress to the higher echelons of the game.

Ankita Raina, who had a bright start, beating the ninth seed Ysaline Bonaventure of Belgium 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 in the first qualifying round of the US Open, however, has the experienced coach Surath Narendranath to guide her in New York.

Ankita Raina, who had a bright start, beating the ninth seed Ysaline Bonaventure of Belgium 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 in the first qualifying round of the US Open, however, has the experienced coach Surath Narendranath to guide her in New York.   -  Special Arrangement

Travelling with a coach is a rare luxury for Ankita Raina. At the Grand Slams, where she has been trying to qualify for the main draw in recent times, she has travelled with her long-time coach Hemant Bendrey.

The 26-year-old Ankita, who had a bright start, beating the ninth seed Ysaline Bonaventure of Belgium 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 in the first qualifying round of the US Open, however, has the experienced coach Surath Narendranath to guide her in New York.

“Ankita played a very good match yesterday. She played like a top-100 player in the first set. She could not maintain that level in the second set, and made many unforced errors. She regrouped and played very tough in the third set which helped her pull through the match’’, summed up Narendranath, who had travelled with Sania Mirza to the US circuit in 2006.

Meanwhile, Hemant Bendrey clarified about the coaching assistance to Ankita, from his base in Pune.

“I was with Ankita for the last 45 days. So, had to come back to look after my academy. Chubby (Narendranath) is not only my friend, but my guru for coaching. I used to work with him for a long time, and have learnt coaching from him. He has agreed to travel whenever possible’’, said Hemant Bendrey.

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Narendranath runs his coaching centre in Hyderabad, and had worked with Sania Mirza for a long time as well, apart from a bunch of good players.

“I have always believed that Ankita is a top-100 player. She will be soon achieving it. I think, slowly, she has also started believing in it’’, said Hemant, about his ward who won the Asian Games singles bronze medal last year.

For the 194th ranked Ankita, it was a commendable performance to beat the Belgian who has been regularly competing in the Grand Slams in singles and doubles. Ankita does have a way of beating Ysaline as she had done so in 2009 in the junior circuit and in 2014 in the professional circuit.

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“I want Ankita to serve better and maintain good level of play through the course of the whole match’’, said Narendranath about Ankita’s second round against Denisa Allertova of the Czech Republic.

“She came a few days before the US Open and got used to the courts and weather’’, added Narendranath, who had also traveled with Ankita to China earlier this year.

“This is my second tournament with Ankita. Hopefully, will be traveling more in the future’’,

Traveling with a coach will not be such a rarity for Ankita anymore, and that should hasten her progress to the higher echelons of the game.