India has been seeded sixth and clubbed with fourth seed Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore in the Asia-Oceania World Junior tennis under-14 girls tournament to be played at the DLTA Complex from Monday.
After the memorable performance of the under-16 boys who qualified in style with the gold last week, and the close miss of the girls under-16 team earlier when it placed fourth, there will be some expectations with the current team.
Captain Namita Bal expressed confidence that the team would play to potential, even though some of the assembled teams were pretty strong.
Like the under-16 boys team, in which Bushan Haobam was brought into the squad following trials, after the original team nomination, a similar system was followed in strengthening the under-14 girls team.
“Sai Janvi is good and plays doubles very well. She comes in place of Thaniya Sarai Gokulamanda, who has been kept as a reserve and will stay with the team’’, said Namita.
The idea is to have a best shot at qualification, and the team management took the players and their parents into confidence in advance to spell out the strategy.
The Aussies and Japanese will continue to be hot shots. Australia has particularly been superbly served by the Jones family. Emerson Jones helped the under-16 girls team qualify as the champion. She is the spearhead for Australia in the under-14 team as well. To top it, her brother Hayden Jones was the live wire who helped Australia under-16 boys team qualify as the third best from the zone.
The Indian under-16 boys did lose to Australia in the league, but had the last laugh, winning the crown with a majestic fare. For sure, they lend plenty of inspiration to the younger teams.
The top two teams from each of the four groups will qualify for the quarterfinals.
– Kamesh Srinivasan