Rushmi Chakravarthi, who will partner Sania Mirza in the women’s doubles event at the London Games thanks to a wildcard, felt that she was destined to play on the hallowed courts of the All England Club at Wimbledon — the tennis venue for the quadrennial event.
The All-India Tennis Association recently managed to procure wildcards for Rushmi and Sania in the women’s doubles and Somdev Devvarman in the men’s doubles events at the Games.
“I suffered a knee injury last year and missed playing the Fed Cup. I was not even among those shortlisted to partner Sania. But as luck had it Sania’s ranking fell to World No 12 and she could not make it to the women’s doubles directly due to which the AITA got the two of us wildcards and I got a chance to be a part of the Olympics. There are so many players whose careers end without getting a chance to represent their country at the Games. Besides, playing at Wimbledon is like a dream come true,” the Chennai-based player told MiD DAY yesterday.
The 34-year-old veteran, who won a bronze medal with Sania in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, is aware of the strong women’s field in London spearheaded by the Williams sisters (2008 Beijing gold medalists) besides top-ranked American doubles players Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond, and reigning French Open winners from Italy, Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.
A medal in women’s doubles is tough, but Rushmi is determined nevertheless given her previous success with Sania. “The Olympics will have some of the best in the business representing their country, but every time Sania and me have played together, we have had a podium finish. So, this time too we will make every effort to try and do well,” added Chakravarthi, who has won 34 ITF doubles and 11 singles titles in her career spanning over two decades.
Though Chakravarthi has never partnered Sania on grass, she hopes to get in some valuable practice before the Games. “Sania has powerful ground strokes and that’s her forte. I am working on my fitness to ensure I can match her on court. After the Commonwealth Games we haven’t played together, but we have a week before the Games to train and that should be good enough time,” she said.
Keen to see Bolt
Beside her own performance, Chakravarthi is excited at the prospect of watching some of the world’s best in London, particularly three-time Olympic gold-winning Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. “Of the many athletes in London, I hope to watch Bolt live in action. I will also keenly follow the Indian hockey team,” she signed off.