Australian Open: Ankita Raina Fifth Indian Woman To Feature In Grand Slam Main Draw
Melbourne: Ankita Raina on Sunday became the only fifth Indian woman tennis player to feature in the main draw of a Grand Slam.
Nirupama Mankad (1971), Nirupama Vaidyanathan (1998), Sania Mirza and Indian-American Shikha Uberoi (2004) have competed in the Grand Slam main draws for the country.
Ankita is only the second Indian after Sania, a six-time Grand Slam champion, to compete in the women’s doubles of a tennis major. Nirupama was the first to crack a Grand Slam main draw, back in 1998 at the Australian Open.
Nirupama Mankad played the 1971 Wimbledon mixed doubles with Anand Amritraj. Shikha had competed in the 2004 US Open and reached the singles second round.
Ankita had signed up with Romanian southpaw Mihaela, who was a top-50 singles player before injury pegged her back, on Friday.
They will open their campaign against Australian wild card pair of Olivia Gadecki and Belinda Woolcock.
Now India will have four Indians competing in the season’s first Grand Slam.
Sumit Nagal will compete in the men’s singles while Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan will present their challenge in the men’s doubles with their respective partners. Nagal has drawn Lithiania’s Ricardas Berankis as his first round opponent.