Ankita Raina is an Indian tennis player who has achieved quite a bit of success in both singles and doubles, giving her countrymen hope of a home-grown women's champion on the WTA tour.
Raina has followed in the footsteps of her compatriot Sania Mirza, and has steadily been climbing up the rankings. She has started winning titles on the ITF circuit, and is primed to build on that and make main draw appearances at the Grand Slams in the near future.
Best finish at each of the four Grand Slams:
Australian Open: NA
French Open: Qualifying 1st Round (2018)
Wimbledon: Qualifying 2nd (2018)
US Open: NA
Highest Ranking: No. 181
Style of play
Raina is a steady baseliner who primarily relies on her speed and counterpunching abilities to outlast her opponents.
She hits with plenty of topspin on both her forehand and backhand, and can hit in all directions comfortably. She also uses the backhand slice quite often, as a way of varying the pattern of a rally.
Raina is comfortable with volleying, and approaches the net whenever she gets her opponent running or out of position. She doesn't use the drop shot or lob too frequently, but brings them out as a surprise tactic.
Strengths and weaknesses
Raina's biggest strength is her baseline consistency. She can stay toe-to-toe with most players from the back of the court, and can get a majority of shots back in play.
Raina has a solid first serve, but it is her second serve that gives her an advantage at the start of a point. She can hit a good kick serve, which opens up the court for an easy putaway.
Raina also has a good return of serve, and is capable of neutralizing most big serves by sending them back with precision. She is also quite efficient at the net, and can take the attack to the opponent on fast courts with her purposeful volleys.
Raina's biggest weakness is the lack of firepower on her groundstrokes. She can't match the raw muscle strength of the top players, and so is frequently in danger of getting blown off the court.
Raina was born in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, although her father Ravinderkishen is of Kashmiri origin.
She started playing tennis at the age of five. Her idols growing up were Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Sania Mirza.
Raina has been coached by Hemant Bendrey, but she has struggled to get the right kind of support and infrastructure to develop her game in India. That said, she believes she plays best when she is representing her country, which is evident from the fact that she won the bronze medal in singles at the 2018 Asian Games. She has also been a Fed Cup regular, having played over half a dozen matches for India already.
Raina is only the fifth female player from India to ever break into the top 200 of the WTA singles rankings, and she is expected to eventually break into the top 100 too.
Social media presence:
Ankita Raina Instagram: @ankitaraina_official
Ankita Raina Twitter: @ankita_champ