Achievements

‘Sania Mirza’s forehand is amazing,’ says Apeejay Svran Global tennis prodigy

Class 8 student Vaanya Sharma on winning the All India Open tennis tournament and idolising the brightest star on India’s tennis marquee

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Vaanya Sharma, class 8 student at Apeejay Svran Global School, bagged the first position in the Under-14 Girls Singles category at the All India Open tennis tournament held on November 13. In an interview she talks about her experience of playing in the tournament, her practice and diet regime and role models in the sport. Edited excerpts:

At what age did you start playing tennis?

I seriously began playing tennis when I was about eight years of age.

What was the inspiration behind choosing tennis?

I was playing tennis in the school with my friends during our PT period. Our coach used to explain the basics of the sport to us. While listening to his instructions I felt very interested in the game. So I started learning more about tennis. I started enjoying playing tennis with my friends. They encouraged me a lot.  

Please tell us about your experience playing and winning at a recent tournament?

It was such an interesting experience. I met so many different people. They were all so skilled in tennis. I even became friends with some of the players there. We appreciated each other’s game, exchanged respect. It felt very nice.

I played a total of five matches in the tournament. The matches were very competitive. The competition was very tough. All the matches took about half an hour on an average. I think the semi-final match was the toughest match I’ve played. My opponent was very competitive. She made the game very hard to win for me.

Please tell us about your practice schedule and diet?

I practice every morning from seven to eight thirty. Then again in the afternoon from 3.30 pm to 6 pm. I train at the Homerton Grammar School academy in Faridabad, near my home.

The practice sessions include warm up exercises followed by forehand drills, backhand drills, rallies, serve drills and a practice match in the end.

I follow a healthy diet. I eat lots of salads, nuts and almonds. I am a vegetarian, so I drink milk thrice a day and consume a lot of bananas. I eat bananas especially during the breaks between the matches and practice sessions. It gives me a lot of energy.

Who are your favourite tennis stars?

Sania Mirza is my idol. I love her technique, her forehand is simply amazing!

Please tell us about your next targets in the world of tennis?

I will be applying for an All India Tennis Association (AITA) card very soon. It gives players their ranking which helps them compete in higher tournaments.

What are your strengths and weaknesses in the sport?

I think my forehand is my greatest strength. In weaknesses, I think I need to practice the backhand more. The half volley is my favourite shot.

How has the school helped you in pursuing your passion?

I actually got encouraged watching my friends play in school. We had some inter-school Tennis tournaments in which I represented my school. I also went to Apeejay Saket to play a tournament.

I would like to thank Principal ma’am Ms Deepika Arora, my class teacher Tanvi Rana Ma’am and my coach Rajesh Choudhary Sir for their constant encouragement.

Arijit Roy is a trainee correspondent at Apeejay newsroom. He has done his masters in English literature from Delhi University and has a book of poems published by Writers Workshop India. He can be reached at [email protected]

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