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MELBOURNE: Ankita Raina on Sunday grew to become solely the third Indian girl tennis participant to safe a spot in the principle draw of a Grand Slam as she made the lower for the ladies’s doubles occasion of the Australian Open.
The 12 months’s first Grand Slam begins right here on Monday.
After lacking out on the ladies’s singles major draw, she nonetheless had an opportunity to qualify as a ‘fortunate loser’ until the completion of the primary spherical, however the 28-year-old realised a long-time dream when she signed up with Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnecu and earned a direct entry.
Solely Sania Mirza and Nirupama Vaidyanathan have competed within the Grand Slam major attracts for India earlier than.
Ankita is barely the second Indian after Sania, a six-time Grand Slam champion, to compete within the girls’s doubles of a tennis main. Nirupama was the primary to crack a Grand Slam major draw, again in 1998 at Australian Open.
The braveheart, who performed a key function in Indian Fed Cup workforce’s super progress, stated though singles maintain a unique significance, making the doubles too is particular.
“It is first major draw of a Grand Slam, so singles or doubles, I’ll take it. It is particular. Years of arduous work, toil and now I’m there. Not solely my arduous work however blessings and assist of numerous individuals have introduced me right here, I can not overlook that,” Ankita advised PTI moments after getting confirming her entry.
“I do know it is doubles however India’s title might be there. These are the moments that spark one thing amongst individuals. Possibly a number of will begin dreaming that it is doable,” she added.
“Individuals begin believing. We contact many small milestones however this one is at a pinnacle. Anybody who begins enjoying skilled tennis, goals of enjoying in a Grand Slam.”
“No matter the truth that it’s doubles, I’ll take it. I stored at it. I stayed within the course of. Possibly subsequent time, I’ll play singles too. After years of arduous work, it’s beginning with doubles however singles will occur. It is first, so particular,” she added.
Ankita stated initially she didn’t discover her title within the draw and was upset.
“I can not imagine it, I missed my title within the sheet. After follow I requested for the draw and frantically seemed for my title. I didn’t discover it. Then my coach known as me to say I’ve made it,” she stated.
Ankita had signed up with Romanian southpaw Mihaela, who was a top-50 singles participant earlier than harm pegged her again, on Friday.
They are going to open their marketing campaign towards Australian wild card pair of Olivia Gadecki and Belinda Woolcock.
“A buddy advised me that Mihaela is in search of a accomplice. I spoke to her and she or he agreed. I’ve not performed along with her earlier than however I’ve performed with a lefty on the tour. It make a superb mixture. I’m trying ahead to it.”
Now India could have 4 Indians competing within the season’s first Grand Slam.
Sumit Nagal will compete within the males’s singles whereas Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan will current their problem within the males’s doubles with their respective companions.
Nagal has drawn Lithiania’s Ricardas Berankis as his first spherical opponent.
Bopanna and his Japanese accomplice Ben McLachlan will tackle Korean wild card entrants Ji Sung Nam and Min-Kyu Tune.
Sharan and his Slovakian accomplice Igor Zelenay will tackle German combo of Yannick Hanfmann and Kevin Krawietz.

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