Mumbai, Feb 5 (IANS) There is usually something special that inspires youngsters to take up sports and in the case of India’s up-and-coming women’s tennis player Shrivalli Bhamidipaty, it was the beautiful outfits worn by the former world number 1 Maria Sharapova who ignited her passion for the sport.
Among the most promising Indian women’s tennis players in the main draw of the Mumbai Open WTA 125K tournament, Shrivalli made a sensational start to the tournament, winning two very impressive matches in the qualifying round. The 22-year-old from Hyderabad is keen to make a good impression in this prestigious event which returns to Mumbai after a gap of six years and is played at the iconic Cricket Club of India.
However, what inspired and motivated the current Indian national champion in both singles and doubles was former World No.1 Maria Sharapova, whose outfit caught her eye. “I used to look at the pictures of Maria Sharapova and I really liked her beautiful clothes. I also wanted to wear such beautiful dresses and that’s why I started playing tennis at the age of 11 and got hooked on the sport. Playing tennis allowed me to wear nice clothes. So for me playing sports was quite accidental,” he said.
Hailing from a sporting family, where her mother was a basketball player and her father played cricket and karate, Shrivalli started taking tennis seriously within a couple of years of being introduced to the sport . “For me, it’s always been a rollercoaster. Honestly, I love the sport of tennis and being out there, because that way you don’t have to be at home and study,” she added.
In her debut WTA tournament, Shrivalli is taking it one match at a time and making sure she takes advantage of every opportunity to be on court. “I didn’t have too many goals at the WTA Mumbai Open because it’s my debut tournament, and I just wanted to go out there, play my tennis and have fun at the same time. I know everyone I play will be in a higher level than me. So I just wanted to do my best and give him my best,” he added. “I am delighted to qualify for the main draw and I will play as normal as any other match.
Shrivalli is scheduled to meet second seed Nao Hibino in the first round.