Nirupama Sanjeev will remain the pioneer of Indian women tennis for years to come, regardless of how many young girls pick up the sport and achieve great heights. While Sania Mirza took the Indian women’s circuit to a new high some years ago, it was Nirupama who paved the way for several India women.
Nirupama became the first Indian women ever to win a main draw event of a Grand Slam. Post her retirement, she has continued her service to the sport, by coaching young children in the USA.
“Sania Mirza‘s impact has been tremendous. Before Sania, I don’t think there was this much excitement about women’s sport in India. As the first person to bring this kind of excitement, she popularized the sport more than anyone else has.”
“It’s sort of like what happened with Saina (Nehwal) in badminton. Sania’s comeback story is going to be so amazing because she is single minded, she wants it, and she’s hungry and I don’t think her career is over yet. I think she will be bringing more excitement in the coming months.”
Sania and Ankita remain India’s hopes in Tokyo
“I think Sania and Ankita have a good shot. They are the underdogs since they will be the unseeded team. The key in the Olympics, especially in team events, is to forget who’s on the other side of the court and just play tennis.”
Upon quizzed on Sania and Ankita Raina’s chances of going all the way in the ongoing Tokyo games, the US resident Nirupama said, “Forget about the seedings, forget about the opponents, forget about all those things and just go and play your game. Sania is very capable of doing that as she never focuses on the rankings or seedings. I think Ankita will also learn to do that given Sania is on her side. As long as they believe they can win, I think they have a very good shot in Tokyo.”