Her shots are smashing, her footwork is quick and her serve is a challenge for the opponent. Watching upcoming tennis player Shivani Ingle on the court is a delight. Shivani is one of the three girls from the country who have qualified for the Junior Fed Cup 2016, an international team competition for Under-16, to be held in Budapest, Hungary from September 27 to October 2.
The other two players to have qualified are Sathwika Sama from Hyderabad and Mahak Jain from Indore, in addition to two reserves. The trio’s coach is Ankita Bhambri from Delhi.
Speaking about the qualifying matches in the capital and the participating teams, Shivani says, “There were teams from various countries, like Australia, Japan, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka and more. The players of all teams were good, especially Australians, whom we faced in the quarter finals. It was a do-or-die situation as whichever team won the game, would have qualified for the Fed Cup. I think what worked for us was that all three of us were very determined.”
The trio, she said, had made a strategy of not giving the opponents their comfort zone and being perfect with their first serve. “The strategy worked,” said Shivani, who has represented India in the past as well on an international level in two tournaments – World Junior Tennis Finals for U-14 at Czeh Republic and Road to Wimbledon, both in 2014.
As the tournament is just a couple of months away, the young player has pulled up her socks. Shivani, who trains under veteran coach Nandan Bal at Fergusson College, plays tennis for four hours every day, coupled with an hour of fitness training. “Next year, I aim to play Junior Grand Slam,” she said.