Sowjanya Bavisetti seeks more events at home

Difficult situations bring out the best response from champions and Sowjanya Bavisetti provided so by winning a double crown in the National championship.

Difficult situations bring out the best response from champions. Sowjanya Bavisetti provided a nice example as she won a double crown in the National tennis championship, against the odds.

Playing in China before the Fenesta National last week in Delhi, and following that up with an event in Lagos, Nigeria, it has been a hectic time for the 25-year-old left-hander from Hyderabad, who travels with her husband and coach Suresh Krishna.

It also gave Sowjanya the opportunity to look at her career and gauge her growth in a chat with Sportstar.

‘’I still can’t believe that I am the national champion. I always wanted this tag. I knew I was capable, but used to miss the chances for various reasons’’, said Sowjanya, who had to grapple with a neck pain, which needed medical attention right through the tournament.

‘’Tuesday morning, I woke up with tremendous pain in my neck. Even after getting treated that morning, I wasn’t able to serve. I thought to myself that all I wanted was to feel better, and be able to play. I got better with every match, with some help. I am super proud of myself for not giving up in that first match. To win both titles is something that I had not imagined’’, said Sowjanya, who won the doubles with Rishika Sunkara.

She made light of the ‘hectic’ situation, by pointing out that players were competing in 30 to 35 tournaments in a year, and she was not pushing herself hard, in comparison.

The three women’s national champions Prerna Bhambri, Riya Bhatia and Mahak Jain, who had won the title in the last seven years, have not had great success at the international level. How does Sowjanya intend to move up in the WTA ranking, with the support of the new platform?

‘’We cannot compare national competition with world competition. Every day, every match is different. I always focus on giving 100%. The goal is to improve my WTA rank, and reach as high as possible. Winning the national championship gives me the confidence’’, said Sowjanya.

What is it that stops the growth of women tennis players in the country, as there is scope for them to make a breakthrough in the global arena?

She answered: ‘’I am financially supported by my family. So, I have to choose tournaments carefully. Sometimes, I have to cancel trips, when I don’t have enough funds. If players had financial support, I am sure will have a lot of players at the top."

When asked about the fact that there are five $25,000 ITF women’s scheduled to be held in Gwalior, Bhopal, Solapur, Pune and Navi Mumbai in November-December, after nothing for the first 10 months, Sowjanya threw more light on the scene.

‘’Earlier, we used to have a set of tournaments at home, every 1-2 months. We did not have to go out of the country. Even if we had to, it was just about five or six trips a year. Now, every time I want to play a tournament, I have to choose safe countries, calculate expenses, check if I can afford, and on top of it, the visa procedures are not that easy’’, she said.

Husband Suresh Krishna was happy that Sowjanya was rewarded for her efforts. He observed that if she managed to stay healthy, she was capable of achieving a lot more.

‘’Sowjanya has the mental strength to compete at bigger stages. Unfortunately, it is coming down to her fitness, and injuries are causing inconsistency in her growth. Building strength programs and injury prevention is the current focus from our fitness trainer Harsha’’, said Suresh, who travels with her as much as possible to provide inputs and build game plans.

Suresh felt that apart from having many international events at home for women, it would help a great deal to get the top players of the country train together with a good system.

Sowjanya, who relaxes her mind by painting, wants to break into the top-500 before the season runs out. Her goal is to climb the WTA ranking ladder and get into the Grand Slam qualifying events, a feat achieved by Ankita Raina after many years of struggle.