Karman Kaur Thandi ready to play a better role

The tall and wiry Karman had won both her singles and doubles with Ankita Raina to help India beat Philippines in the group, and thus avoid the relegation play-off against Thailand.

Ranked 282nd in the world, the 19-year-old Karman Kaur Thandi has a more confident game after some sterling performances in the professional circuit in the last season. (File Photo)   -  Special arrangement

It was Karman Kaur Thandi who ensured that India stayed in group-1 of the Asia-Oceania FedCup women’s tennis competition in Kazakhstan last year. The tall and wiry Karman had won both her singles and doubles with Ankita Raina to help India beat Philippines in the group, and thus avoid the relegation play-off against Thailand.

Ranked 282nd in the world, the 19-year-old Karman has a more confident game after some sterling performances in the professional circuit in the last season. She also briefly enjoyed the No.1 status in the country to announce her readiness to climb up the slippery ranking ladder.

The Indian team is relatively much stronger this time, with doubles specialist Prarthana Thombare making the squad, along with the former Asian junior champion, Pranjala Yadlapalli who has been playing good tennis in both singles and doubles.

Multiple Grand Slam champion Mahesh Bhupathi has been mentoring Karman for some time, with her training, tournaments etc. He is quite upbeat that if she puts in the physical work this year, Karman would reap the rewards soon.

ALSO READ: Sidharth Rawat, Mahak Jain top seeds in AITA Ranking tourney

‘’She is working hard and spent a lot of time on her fitness, at the JSW Institute, in Vijaynagar. She will use this year to build a fitness base’’, said Mahesh about Karman spending three weeks to train before going for tournaments in France and UK over the last fortnight.

‘’They have great facilities, and really well organised. I had a great time, in terms of training. I felt physically stronger in the tournaments in Europe, even though the results were not what I wanted’’, observed Karman who returned home on Sunday.

Not just Mahesh, but everyone is convinced that Karman has a big game and a great attitude to compete. It is a matter of time before she steps on to the big stages and delivers her lines.

‘’She has the ingredients. So, hopefully, the plan is help her make the breakthrough in 2019, with all the work she puts in this year’’, observed Mahesh, quite candid about not expecting too much too early.

ALSO READ: Jeevan-Rungkat duo tame Leander and Salisbury to win Challenger title

The healthy attitude may help take the pressure off Karman to deliver quick results, but tune her focus on the process of getting better for the long haul.

In the current context of the FedCup, Karman has to just play her best tennis, in the fearless fashion that has become quite natural for her.

‘’The first target is to stay in the group, beat some good players and teams, and try to move up. I love playing on the centre court. It will be great to play on the home courts in front of home crowd. I will try to play my best’’, said Karman, after a training session.

If Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur play singles to their best ability, India definitely will stand a chance against any team, at least in the league stage of the competition.

ALSO READ: Ankita braces for Fed Cup test

The other group is sizzling with tough teams like Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea and Thailand.

Along with the home advantage, as Karman will be playing at a venue which saw her take the firm baby steps into international professional tennis, there will be a lot of attention on her game and how she tackles the pressure of the team’s hopes placed on her.

For sure, whether they like it or not, it is the pressure that bakes the players to world class standards. There will be no dearth of it.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :