Ankita Raina rues lack of opportunity to boost her rankings

The Ahmedabad-born tennis star was crucial in India’s Fed Cup campaign where they advanced to the playoffs for the first time in history.

By Olympic Channel Writer ·

India’s top-ranked women singles tennis player Ankita Raina has expressed concerns over not getting enough playing opportunities to boost her WTA rankings.

The rapid escalation of the coronavirus outbreak, which forced the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare it a pandemic, has forced an indefinite impasse on all sporting events across the world.

Consequently, both the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and Women's Tennis Association (WTA) tours have suspended all tournaments until June 7.

However, while the cancellation of the BNP Paribas Open and the postponement of the French Open have come as a huge blow to top tennis players, Ankita Raina points out it won’t hurt her season as much in terms of financial loss.

"Money at my level is not the main objective, as only players inside the top 100 are the ones who actually make money on the circuit,” world no. 163 Ankita Raina told The Times of India.

"So, for me, it's a loss of opportunity to earn points and get to the top 100 which is my immediate goal," the 27-year-old added.

A decent start to 2020

After a busy 2019, where she competed in as many as 32 tournaments, Ankita Raina started 2020 with losses against Romania’s Patricia Maria Țig at the ITF Australian Championships semi-final and Bulgaria’s Viktoriya Tomova in the Australian Open qualifiers.

She turned things for the good by winning both the singles and doubles titles at the ITF Thailand Tennis Championship in Nonthaburi alongside her Dutch partner Bibiane Schoof.

Ankita Raina.

Ankita Raina’s highlight of the season, however, has been the Indian tennis team reaching the Fed Cup playoffs for the first time in history. The Ahmedabad-born player won both her singles as well as doubles match alongside Sania Mirza to help India beat Indonesia in the deciding tie.

How can Ankita Raina qualify for 2020 Olympics

The Olympic qualification procedure for tennis in the singles category requires one to come within the top 56 in the world rankings, with a maximum of four players from each country automatically qualifying.

Hence, a 163rd ranked Ankita Raina’s probability of making it to the 2020 Olympics is as small as it could be for any Indian singles tennis player. However, her chances significantly increase in the doubles events.

Sania Mirza will retain her special ranking of world no. 9 at the Olympics, which has been given by the WTA owing to her maternity break. This makes the veteran a very probable participant from India at the 2020 Olympics.

Sania Mirza will have options to choose her partners in both the women’s and mixed doubles events, and the pairing's recent successful outing at the Fed Cup could see Ankita Raina featuring in Tokyo.