Rashmikaa geared up for next level

The 17-year-old Hyderabadi is set to enter the senior category this January and the youngster is leaving no stone unturned to make a mark.

By Author  |  Published: 13th Oct 2019  12:16 am

Hyderabad: Upcoming tennis player from the State Shrivalli Rashmikaa is on a high with back-to-back national titles. She first won her national title at the Fenesta Open national tennis tournament in August on clay courts and she then backed it up with another title on the hard courts last week at the same tournament.

The 17-year-old Hyderabadi is set to enter the senior category this January and the youngster is leaving no stone unturned to make a mark. “I am delighted with the twin titles. I will be entering in the women’s category from January which will be challenging. So I am preparing hard mentally and I need to be stronger physically. I will be playing against older players who are more experienced in the circuit,” she said.

When asked about her next target, she said she wants to be in top 500 in the WTA rankings by next one year. “I don’t have a WTA ranking yet. I have seven points that I got after playing in Portugal 25k ITF tourney in June. I need to perform well in my next ITF tournaments and get three more points to get my ranking. I will be playing a few women’s tournament next in Africa, Europe. I also have a few tournaments in India in Bhopal, Gwalior and Mumbai. I want to be in top 500 in WTA rankings in next one year,” the determined player said.

Given the tough competition in the senior category, her road ahead is not easy. However, she is preparing herself for the big challenge. “I have been training here (with Srikanth) since my under-14 days. I have become much stronger and I am able to sustain longer matches. I have improved my muscular strength as well as my endurance and play longer tough matches.”

Rashmikaa, who trains with coach Sajid Lodi at the Sajid Lodi Tennis Academy in Indore, trains with Sinnet Tennis Academy when she is in Hyderabad and travels to Suchitra Badminton Academy for strength and conditioning sessions under trainer Srikanth Varma.

Srikanth, who also trains badminton star PV Sindhu, said that the youngster has improved a lot and added much power to her game. “I have been training her since 2015. I developed tennis specific programme and worked on what her game requires. She is an attacking player and we designed explosive and strength training to add power to her game and strokes. She had improved a lot on endurance and that helped her win the title. The results we see now are a result of two to three years’ of hard work,” he added.

Rashmika coach Sajiz rates the youngster very high and feels that she will make her mark in Indian tennis. “She is on par with international players game-wise and physique-wise. This combination of strength and ability is very crucial and she has high standards. She has to be mentally very strong which is crucial to succeed at the next level.”

When asked about the tough time during the transition period from juniors to seniors, he said, “Playing at the next level is a different ball game altogether. This transition is something every player has to go through. She was ok in the under-14 category. In under-16, she became a good player and she is playing her best in the under-18 category. She has seen that transition. I don’t think she will face any trouble.”

“She will make a mark of her own and will be a big inspiration to many youngsters in next three year,” said Sajid, who has been training her for over three years.

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