April 21, 2021 4:46:03 am
Four months into the second year of the pandemic, 13-year-old Aishwarya Jadhav has already clinched five titles. The ace tennis player from Kolhapur secured the runner up position in U-14 girls singles and doubles at the Altevol-held in Ahmedabad on Friday.
With a consistent game armed with a strong forehand, Jadhav (ranked 16 U-14) kept up her stride throughout the tournament to have her third run-in with opponent Priyanka Rana of Gujarat. Both the singles and the doubles match against Rana held an identical score of 6-1, 6-4.
“Priyanka was a challenging opponent as she played very aggressively. In the singles, during the first set, I could not break her much and by the second, I had analysed some weak points so I could pocket some games. I have played with her thrice before, with one win on my end so far,” said Jadhav.
Daughter to a surveyor and a housewife, Jadhav picked up the tennis racquet at the age of six.
“I always wanted to play a sport and tennis was the one that caught my eye. My father then inducted me into a tennis academy and after winning a handful of tournaments, I was hungry to win more. My family is very supportive when it comes to my sport,” she added.
Currently training under brothers Arshad Desai and Manal Desai at the Arshad Desai Tennis Academy in Kolhapur, Jadhav said her game has improved manifold in the past year.
She is also supported by Guardian Minister for Kolhapur Chandrakant Patil and officials at the Kolhapur District Lawn Tennis Association.
In the past, Jadhav ranked number two in the U-10 and U-12 in the state and had also been the only player selected in the School Games Federation of India in U-14 Maharashtra team with her
being the youngest player at just 11.
The seventh grader of Chhatrapati Shahu Vidyalaya said that she does not struggle keeping equilibrium between her academics and tennis. “Although I missed out on my final exams during the Asian tourney at Ahmedabad, the cooperation from my school helps me focus on tennis at hand,” she said.
Coach Desai said, “She is a very smart player and consistent at her game. She leaves no room for errors as she tends to make her opponent make mistakes and she capitalises on it. While her height is an advantage that she has on her side, fitness is an area that needs to be worked upon. Aiswarya also needs to get more aggressive at her sport and that is something we are working on together.”
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