EXCLUSIVE | Tournaments Like TPL Will Help Audience Connect Better With Tennis, Reckons Ankita Raina

Indian tennis ace Ankita Raina is all set to take part in the fourth season of the Tennis Premier League (TPL) starting today (December 7) in Pune. In an exclusive conversation with News18, Raina said that he is very excited to be a part of TPL as he will get a chance to play with teams and elite players from all over the world in the tournament.

“A league like TPL is definitely very important because it is played as a team event, and I think when you come together as a team, people and spectators can connect even better which Individual sports are a bit difficult. Tennis is an individual sport and unlike other sports, we are doing everything on our own. So, playing as a team is a special thing which boosts the game a lot,” Raina he said.

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Over the years, tennis has evolved into India More tournaments are coming into the ranks and giving opportunities to youngsters. With regard to TPL, Raina said that participating in such a league-based tournament is exciting as it pumps up the players and involves a number of spectators which encourages them to put the best foot forward.

“It’s important for the sport. All the elite players are coming here and taking time out of their schedules. We all know tennis is a sport where we need to travel, we need to compete for 25 to 30 weeks. And it is also challenging and difficult to adjust to the schedule at the end of the years. But, TPL is going to be an exciting week with a different atmosphere because here we will have the team, the team owner. Especially we will have the spectators. So, I think it pumps up a lot and the atmosphere is really great,” Raina said.

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Franchise-based leagues give opportunities to young players and Raina believes that such leagues also help players financially. Raina will be seen playing for Gujarat Panthers in TPL and before the start of the tournament, he thanked the founders of TPL- Kunal Thakur and Mrinal Jain for giving a big platform to all the tennis players in India. She said, “There are a lot of advantages of this kind of league and it is a great initiative by Kunal and Mrinal to bring everyone together for this league.”

Raina recently participated in the W25 Traralgon 18A, in which she competed in doubles with Indonesian player P Nugroho, but lost in the final to Katherine Westbury and Destiney Aiwa. In 2022, Raina had a better performance in doubles than in singles. Reflecting on that, she said, “The six to eight months of the year were not good from both singles and doubles point of view because I reached the top 100 in doubles last year. But, I think I am a lot better than the Korea Open.” “I am in a better shape than I was in September. The performances have been better and now I am in my rhythm. I have always competed more in singles and doubles has helped me with that.”

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