The Indian gamers have an onerous process at hand to compete towards higher-ranked Latvians, together with 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, once they try to clear the World Group Play-offs hurdle on the Billie Jean King Cup, right here from Friday.
By her personal admission, Ankita Raina performs her greatest tennis at this occasion, previously often called Fed Cup, and India would once more count on her to punch above her weight when she takes on Ostapenko within the tie-opening match of the Play-offs the place India are competing for the primary time.
Although odds are towards them, what might go in favour of the Indians is that the tie might be performed on indoor exhausting court docket because the Latvians surprisingly didn’t select clay courts, extra suited to their gamers, and the absence of crowd assist for the hosts.
Ankita (ranked 174) and Karman Kaur Thandi (ranked 621), who takes on host primary participant Anastasija Sevastova (ranked 47), each mentioned they’re prepared for an excellent struggle.
Ankita performed towards Sevastova manner again in 2015 at dwelling in Ahmedabad, shedding an ITF ultimate to her. Their journeys have been contrasting since then with Sevastova moving into top-50 with a crushing backhand.
She even beat Serena Williams when Latvia performed towards US in 2020 Fed Cup Qualifiers.
“We largely play on exhausting courts, so I’m prepared and excited for it. I give my greatest after I symbolize my nation, I’m greater than prepared,” Ankita mentioned at a digital press convention.
“Go for it!” 🙌
— Billie Jean King Cup (@BJKCup) April 15, 2021
Karman, who’s making a comeback after an damage lay-off, mentioned she is bodily ready for the massive problem.
“Quick or sluggish, it doesn’t matter, each Ankita and I desire exhausting courts. It’s an excellent alternative for us,” she mentioned.
Requested why he selected Karman over higher-ranked Rutuja Bhosale (419), captain Vishal Uppal mentioned he has passed by his “intestine feeling”.
“All my 5 gamers have labored exhausting. I felt Karman can provide us some further on day one. I’ve gone with my intestine,” he mentioned.
Sevastova mentioned she is aware of Ankita properly however watched a couple of Youtube movies of Karman to get an concept about her sport.
“I watched for enjoyable,” she mentioned jokingly.
“I watched to know what are her weapons or weak point. It’s one factor to observe a video and totally different in actual life. You already know extra if you find yourself on court docket.”
She performed on clay court docket not too long ago however mentioned switching to exhausting court docket gained’t be a problem. She admitted that the floor would go well with the Indians extra.
Uppal felt the absence of crowd will work in India’s favour.
“We have now obtained to this stage (Play-offs) for the primary time. The nice factor is, there gained’t be 5-7 thousand followers screaming at us however on the similar time it takes the enjoyable away. Rating exit of window in Bille Jean King Cup.”