Karman Kaur Thandi

New Delhi, March 17 (IANS) Rising tennis sensation Karman Kaur Thandi, who had trained under women’s World No.1 Serena Williams’s French coach Patrick Mouratoglou, has set her eyes on breaking into the top-350 of the WTA rankings by the end of the first quarter in 2017.

The 18-year-old lanky Delhi girl had already made it big by winning the U-16 WTA Futures Star in Singapore in 2014 with her strong performance. She played for all the four major junior grand slams in 2016 — the US Open, French Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon.

Currently ranked at 532, Karman said she gets to test her skills more during her training at the Mouratoglou academy at Nice in France, where she regularly gets to play the top-20 players.

“At present, I am No.532..and playing a few more $25,000 ITF tournaments will help me rise in my rankings. The first goal is to reach the top-350 and then go on getting better and better till I make myself eligible to play in the qualifiers of the Grand Slam tournaments,” Karman told IANS on the sidelines of the launch of a new fitness line by her sponsor, ASICS.

“Training wise, it’s a lot different from India, if you see the fitness and endurance levels of the singles players from most non-Asian countries, you get the difference.

“You get good rest time, each and every requirement of yours is well taken care of and most importantly you get to test yourself by playing against the top-20 players quite often,” she added.

Karman, who enjoys playing in hard court events, recently helped India defeat Philippines 2-1, by winning both her singles and doubles matches, in the last league tie of the Fed Cup Asia-Oceania Group-1 women’s tournament at Kazakh capital Astana last month.

With India looking for the next generation woman tennis star after Sania Mirza, Karman, who was introduced to the game at the age of eight by her parents, however considers Serena and banned Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova, her idols.

“My parents had put me in tennis when I was an eight year old. Since then I started playing tennis. Gradually results started coming in and I was building up confidence in this sport,” she said.

“Yes definitely, waiting for Sharapova’s return to the court. Her aggressive style of play is what makes me follow her so closely, that matches my style too. I love playing the big serves with a strong forehand, which my coach considers my strengths,” she added.

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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