Karman Kaur all set for big stage transition

The 20-year-old Karman, ranked 207 in the world, will be starting the season with the women’s qualifying event of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Karman Kaur Thandi had earlier competed in all the four Grand Slams as a junior.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

It has been good progress for Karman Kaur Thandi in the last two years as she gets back to the Grand Slam circuit, after having competed in all the four Grand Slams as a junior.

The 20-year-old Karman, ranked 207 in the world, will be starting the season with the women’s qualifying event of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

She had competed in the US Open juniors in 2015, and followed up with the Australian, French and Wimbledon events in 2016. Her best memory was making the pre-quarterfinals of singles and the doubles quarterfinals with Pranjala Yadlapalli at the Australian Open.

"When I was playing those Slams as a junior, it was a preparation for the future. Every Slam has its own charm, and I enjoyed all four. It was basically a learning experience and preparation for competing at the highest level. The goal was to return there as a pro. So, I am very excited and glad to be back there, at the right time," said Karman before leaving for Australia.

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She could have tried the US Open last year, but it clashed with the Asian Games, and Karman had opted to delay her Grand Slam entry as a professional.

Having closed the season by the end of November, Karman did well to rest and recover, for the season ahead.

"I did my pre-season training in France. Definitely, feeling strong and hungry to get back to competition," she said.

It was a good finish for 2018 as Karman won lot of matches in the last two months of the season.

"Yes, I was happy with the finish, getting my first ITF singles title and my first WTA doubles title last year. Of course, I wanted to finish better, but there is no limit to that desire," she said.

If their rank lets them get back into the big tournaments together, Karman and Ankita Raina, who won the $125,000 WTA title as a pair in Chinese Taipei, would keep their option open for competing together.

"If we are playing the same tournament and making the cut, we will take a call," she said.

At the moment the target for Karman is to try and play more WTA events, to improve her singles rankings.

"I want to reach a rank by which I can get a direct entry into Wimbledon. Or do so, maximum by the US Open," Karman expressed her resolve.

Karman emphasised that she would always look at multiple Grand Slam champion, Mahesh Bhupathi as her "mentor and guide."

From last year, it is the Virat Kohli Foundation that has been sustaining the professional career of Karman.

"They support me financially and taking care of coaching, physio, nutrition etc," she said.

Karman will have coach Pierre Debrosse of France, to guide her in Melbourne, from the stable of Patrick Mouratoglou.

The tall and wiry girl, with a big serve and explosive forehand, Karman has nicely consolidated on her junior experience to take a quick step on to the big stage.