India’s No. 1 tennis player Ankita Raina decides to try her hand at cook-and-serve


With no specific medicine to tennis battle the coronavirus, around the globe, mostly everyone is working from home. While this is okay for the working class, sportspersons and fitness freaks are worried about staying in form, what with gymnasiums and fitness centres shutting down.

However, they have worked out a workout plan in their homes. But to spend the ‘bonus’ time they have been suddenly gifted, many have turned to music, reading, helping their parents and trying their hand at cooking. This includes India’s top woman tennis player Ankita Raina.


“Yes, I have started to learn cooking, standing beside mummy when she’s in the kitchen,” said Ankita, who now resides in Pune while she pursues tennis at the Hemant Bendrey Tennis Academy, PYC Hindu Gymkhana in Pune, under the watchful eyes of Hemant Bendrey.

“I go up and down the apartment stairs twice a day,” said Ankita, who is from a Kashmiri Pandit family from Gujarat.


Her day begins with meditation, followed by yoga, mobility exercises and some core workouts. “Reading is one thing which takes up most of my time,” said Indian’s No. 1 women’s player. Currently, she is absorbed in reading ‘Good Vibes, Good Life’ by Vex King.

“Yes, I’m also learning to cook, so I also spend a lot of time in the kitchen with mom, watching and learning,” she said, talking about the other important things which have been keeping her busy. Another important thing she has been doing is to call people, asking them to take precautions to fight the virus and keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

“I was relieved to hear about the French Open, at least we have the Grand Slam, so that’s good news,” she said.

“I appeal to all of you to please observe the Janta Curfew on Sunday and don’t forget to applaud the efforts of all the medical health providers for their tireless efforts,” she signs off.

Meanwhile, other Indian tennis players who have been forced out of Pro Tour due to the health crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, are utilising their time to work on careers other than tennis.

Almost all of them are restricted to fitness drills at home, as courts and gyms are out-of-bounds due to the restrictions imposed, wrecking sporting calendars worldwide.

The ITF, WTA and ATP have shut their respective tours and the French Open too has been pushed back to September-October from its usual late-May schedule.


Tamil Nadu-based Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, who recently made his Davis Cup debut and is expected to lead India’s doubles challenge in the coming years, is spending time hitting away at private courts and handling the marketing of their family resort in Puducherry.

Mumbai-based Purav Raja too has busied himself with shaping up his business.

“I am starting ‘Restrung India’, a racquet customising business. It’s about building your own racquet. I am spending some time on this now, which was not possible when I was on the road.

This is fun, giving Indian players a chance to use the best equipment,” he said.

Meanwhile, Prajnesh Gunneswaran, one of India’s best singles players, said, “We are all having to sit around and wait. It’s not an ideal situation. I hope this passes quickly. Everybody in the world is struggling. We, as tennis players, should not say that our livelihood is at stake, it’s much worse for many others,” said Prajnesh.

“Just hoping to get back to the circuit, which looks far away for now,” he said.


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