“You need to push yourself on the bad days – that’s what’s gotten me going for all these years,” says Karman Kaur, who’s being touted as the next Sania Mirza. Her message is simple, and yet, it is taxing. To take up a sport in India that doesn’t have a mass following is tough, but Kaur seems set to take on the battle. 

Born in New Delhi in 1998, the 21-year-old player was regarded as one of the most promising players for India by Sania Mirza herself in 2016, and Kaur hasn’t disappointed. She has gone on to become one of the six Indian female players to enter the top 200 of the WTA rankings. She had a career-high rank of 196th in August 2018. She’s well supported by Ankita Raina, who currently stands at 170 in the world. 

Karman Kaur Thandi

Preferring the hard-court over the clay surface, the 6Ft behemoth likes to play the double-handed backhand to put her opponents in a spin. She has represented India in the Fed Cup since 2017 and has a 2-1 in doubles. At singles, she has won three times and lost six matches. 

Her journey started early. Karman started playing tennis at the age of eight, and on the junior tour, she had a World ranking of 32, achieved in January 2016. She’s also won four doubles titles and a singles title on the ITF Women’s Circuit – the maiden singles title in $25,000 Hong Kong tournament on 23 June 2018, and the doubles titles in 2017 in Heraklion, and two in 2015 in Gulbarga. 

Karman Kaur Thandi

She also participated in the Asian Games 2018 in mixed doubles with Divij Sharan, but the pair was ousted in the third round. She became the first Indian tennis player to win a WTA main draw encounter since Sania Mirza’s win over Kristina Barrios in the 2012 BNP Paribas Open. She defeated Lu Jia-Jing at the Jiangxi International Women’s Tennis Open in 2018. 

She knows that being a sportsperson involves hard work and dedication, and she works hard for it. Working on the same routine every day can be a tiring exercise for teenagers, but she hasn’t given up. She’s backed by the Virat Kohli Foundation and Mahesh Bhupathi, and there was a deal with ASICS in place as well. India is looking for its next Sania Mirza, and Karman Kaur certainly fills us with hope. 


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