Shrivalli Bhamidipaty misses wild card, but meets Serena Williams

Shrivalli Rashmikaa Bhamidipaty missed the girls wild card for the French Open junior tennis championship, but had an unforgettable experience of meeting some of the top players including Serena Williams and Simona Halep.

Shrivalli is all smiles as she poses for a picture with three-time French Open champion Serena Williams.   -  Special Arrangement

Shrivalli Rashmikaa Bhamidipaty missed the girls wild card for the French Open junior tennis championship, in a three-nation competition at the Rolland Garros, but had an unforgettable experience of competing on the Grand Slam courts in Paris, and met some of the top players including Serena Williams and Simona Halep.

The Indian champion of the Rendezvous Roland Garros junior competition in Delhi, Shrivalli beat China's Cao Xue 6-3, 6-2 but was defeated by Brazil's Anna Paula Melilo 7-6(4), 6-2, in the three-player competition, played on a league basis.

The Brazilian girl won the wild card as she won both her matches. "I led 5-4 in the first set against the Brazilian. I could not make it to the main draw, but it was a great experience," said Shrivalli.

Unlike the earlier times when the event used to be played near the Eiffel Tower, the courts at the Roland Garros were given for the junior wild card competition this time.
"It was great to play at the Roland Garros. We played on court No.6. We were also allowed to use the gym and the Locker Room," added the 16-year-old Shrivalli.

"I also met (Simona) Halep, Serena (Williams) and others. I was lucky to have a photo with Serena," said Shrivalli,  who is coached by Sajid Lodi.

Siddhant Banthia, who already has a rich experience of the Grand Slams having competed in Wimbledon, US Open and the Australian Open, also missed out on the French Open as he too won one match and lost one in the league.

Even though he is ranked No.71 in the world, unlike Shrivalli, who is ranked 300, Banthia, coached by Aditya Madkekar, was not sure of his entry in Wimbledon, as the points from the Asian junior title that he won last year would drop before the cut-off date.

Both Banthia and Shrivalli are scheduled to compete in the ITF grade-2 tournament in Poland. Banthia hoped that he would fare well to ensure at least a qualifying entry for Junior Wimbledon.

Quite interestingly, last year, Banthia had opted out of the French Open wild card event after having secured his ticket from India, and Abhimanyu Vannem Reddy who hurried to Paris as a replacement, won the event and gained the French Open experience.