MUMBAI: There is usually something special that inspires youngsters to take up sports and in the case of India's promising
women's tennis player Shrivalli Bhamidipaty it was the pretty dresses worn by former World No.1 Maria Sharapova that 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 games in the qualifying round. The 22-year-old from Hyderabad is keen on making a solid impression in this prestigious event which returns to Mumbai after a gap of six years and is being 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 Number 1 Maria Sharapova, whose dress caught her eye. “I used to look at Maria Sharapova’s pictures and really liked her pretty clothes. I, too, wanted to wear such pretty dresses and that’s the reason I started playing tennis at the age of 11 and got hooked into the sport. Playing tennis allowed me to be able to wear pretty dresses. So, for me getting into sports was pretty accidental,” she said.
Hailing from a sporting family, where her mother was a basketball player and her father played cricket and karate, Shrivalli began to take tennis seriously within a couple of years of being introduced to the sport. “For me, it was always a roller-coaster ride. Honestly, I just love the sport of tennis and being out there, because that way you don’t have to be home and studying,” she added.
In her debut WTA tournament, Shrivalli is taking it one game at a time and ensuring she makes the best of every opportunity to be out there on the court. “I didn’t have too many goals coming into the WTA Mumbai Open because it is 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 at a higher level than me. So, I just wanted to do my best and give it my best shot,” she added. “I am thrilled to qualify for the main draw, and I will play normally like any other match.
Shrivalli is scheduled to meet second seed Nao Hibino in the first round.