On watching the first ray of sunlight hitting the ground,a gladdened Prinkle Singh puckered up,rose up from the seat and was soon back on the court hitting the ball with the middle of the racquet. Since morning,when the heavens opened up,she had been praying for the rain to stop.
On the verge of adding second consecutive AITA Talent Series title to her name,the sudden shower would have played spoilsport and washed away her dreams of asserting her supremacy in the girl’s Under-12 category. Her prayers were soon answered and she didn’t have to share the winner’s title with Sarah Dev,her opponent in the final,which would have been the case had the rain continued to pour intermittently.
But it was Prinkle’s day and,as expected,the Jammu-born player breezed past Sarah,6-4,6-1,in the final to win the title. “It’s a wonderful feeling to win two AITA Talent Series trophies in a row. Last year also I managed to win two consecutive AITA Talent Series trophies. It shows I am on the right path,” chirped Prinkle.
If her current ranking of Number 7 in the AITA Under-12 category which makes her the best ranked player from Chandigarh,is any indication,then yes,Prinkle is on the right path. Last year alone,she garnered three AITA titles- one Under-12 and two Under-14 titles- as her ranking headed north due to some consistent performances.
Till now,she has won about six AITA titles and she promises there are still more to come. “When I take on bigger girls in the Under-14 category,I never get intimidated by their presence on the court. I just go out there to win. That is what I aim for,” shot the 11-year-old.
The winning attitude has been a part of family legacy,and sports over other activities was always the first choice. Her father,an amateur footballer,started the trend of playing sport in the family. However,it was her elder brother,Sumit Pal Singh – another fine tennis player from the family- who showed her the way. Watching her brother play during one of the tennis tournaments at CLTA,Prinkle who was four at the time,was drawn towards the sport by its sheer competitiveness and the level of energy.
Before that,all Prinkle has are faint memories of golden moments spent with her grandmother at Gandhinagar in Jammu. Playing tennis there,according to her,was not possible due to lack of proper infrastructure and good tennis academies. So,far from home,her journey into the world of sports started off at Chandigarh.
Her first title,the Under-10 trophy that she won in a local tournament at the YMCA courts,is still vivid in her memories. “That title spurred me on to go for more titles,” Prinkle rolled on. The platform had been set and coaches envisaged greater things for the Singh siblings.
Sumit Pal started off well,but his career took a noose dive in the recent times,. Howewver,Prinkle,going from strength to strength,is slowly coming into her own as a talent to watch out for. In the recently concluded national tennis championship at Mumbai in May,Prinkle staved off strong challenge from players from all over the country to reach the pre-quarters (in singles) and quarter-finals (in doubles).
On most of the days,her forehand,considered to be her most potent weapon,has helped her win points in tight situations. “However,I am still working on my footwork to become an all-round player,” she added.
In the coming month,Prinkle will once again look to give challenge to top ranked players in the nationals to be played in Chennai. “I hope to reach till the quarters,” hoped the Class VI student of Aashiana Public School.
Meanwhile,Nihit Rawal and Pooja Moura emerged winners in the boy’s and girl’s Under-16 categories. While Rawal outclassed Mritunjay Badola 6-2,6-2,Moura was impressive in her 6-3,6-3 victory over Nikita Bishnoi.
Results: (all finals): Singles: Boys Under-12: Rishabh Sharda bt Sahishnu Sharma 6-0,6-4; Under-16: Nihit Rawal bt Mritunjay Badola 6-2,6-2; Girls Under-12: Prinkle Singh bt Sarah Dev 6-4,6-1; Under-16: Pooja Moura bt Nikita Bishnoi 6-3,6-3.
Doubles: Boys Under-12: Anmol Rattan Kamboj & Abhimanyu Rozra bt Savneet Bajwa & Sahishnu Sharma 7-6 (3),7-5; Under-16: Paramveer Singh Bajwa & Adhhyan bt Conard & Nihit Rawal 6-1,6-3; Girls Under-16: Nikita Bishnoi & Gayatri Kumariaha bt Sarah Dev & Bani Singh 6-4,6-3.