Karman Thandi aces FedCup team's Instagram show

Karman Thandi, Sania Mirza, Ankita Raina, Rutuja Bhosale, Riya Bhatia and Sowjanya Bavisetti were quizzed by Purav Raja on his Instagram show.

Karman Thandi was the winner of Purav Raja's FedCup Heart Award.   -  special arrangement

Karman Kaur Thandi had missed out on India’s FedCup qualification in Dubai from the Asia-Oceania to the World Group play-off, owing to an injury, but she was at her bright best in emerging the champion in the Instagram show, Chai with Raja.

It was a unique opportunity for the entire FedCup team including, star doubles player Sania Mirza, to bring some attention on women’s tennis in the country. Purav Raja hosted the six players in a 50-minute show, firing almost two questions a minute.

The general questions, labelled as Raja’s Wisdom, did catch the girls on the wrong foot, but they were quite sporting and composed in handling the embarrassing situation with a smile.

Sania, the former world No.1 doubles star and six-time Grand Slam champion, was at ease and readily offered to donate the proceedings to the Chief Minister’s Fund if she won the FedCup Heart Award.

Sania said that she would seek about a week and a half preparation in Latvia for the FedCup play-off tie, and expressed confidence that it would be a 50-50 chance for the two teams.

Being the judge, Sania left it to Purav by giving the names of Sowjanya Bavisetti and Karman. Since Karman had answered most of the 15 questions, Purav had no hesitation in declaring her the winner.

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Though she could not remember the other top-200 ranked players of the country apart from Sania and Ankita, Karman, herself a member of that elite league, was able to get close to the number of Metro Stations in Delhi, or for that matter the number of men’s national titles won by the evergreen Nitten Kirrtane.

Karman said that she was reading Sania Mirza’s biography and found it interesting. She looked forward to achieving 60% of her potential in the career ahead. She gave eight out of 10 points for Mahesh Bhupathi in shaping her career in the professional circuit.

Conceding that she would render justice to two 12-inch pizza, Sowjanya talked about the tricky experience of competing in Nigeria, immediately after winning the national women’s title last year.

Rutuja Bhosale said that it depended on the person to capitalise on college tennis in the US, and said that she was quite nervous during the FedCup, despite having been part of the team since 2011. She hoped to be in the top-200 by 2022, a sentiment echoed by Riya Bhatia also. She was stumped when asked to name five Prime Ministers, but managed to start with Narendra Modi, and reach Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.

Riya Bhatia was smart in answering the general questions, and said that she was quite energetic in the finals without any trace of nervousness, even though she had won only six of 19.

Ankita Raina was the first to get on the show, and was quite nervous. She could not remember simple things, but settled down to answer smoothly. She gave seven for Sania’s role in helping India qualify in FedCup, even though she herself had won singles and doubles matches to steer the team.

Quite in a dilemma, Ankita picked her match against Wang Zhang in FedCup to her victory over Yuliya Putintseva. When asked for advice for Indian women players, Ankita chose emotional restraint, as the players tended to react quick.

Ankita chose her mother for playing a key role in her career, and dismissed the possibilities of marriage this year, even if she ran into Mr. Right.

Even as he raced through the questions, Purav managed to get the best expression from all the six players, for a lively show.

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