Karman Kaur Thandi is not your normal woman tennis professional from India. She is tall and strong who stepped in her twenties only last month. Adding to that she is already India`s No.2 women`s singles player and fast catching up with her more famous compatriot Ankita Raina. Currently ranked 225 on the WTA, she won her first professional singles tournament in Hong Kong last week and is surely going to move up the professional ladder in time to come.
I caught up with her for an interview as she was preparing for her next halt in China.
ME: Hi Karman thanks for your time. It surely must be a great feeling to have won your first professional tournament?
Karman: Yes it is an amazing feeling to win my first ITF professional title. I had been close to winning but ended up losing those close finals but finally getting the winner trophy feels great.
Karman Kaur Thandi with her first ITF title she won in Hong Kong.
ME: You were a completely different player in this tournament and you did not give even the slightest chance to any of your opponent. Was there any specific change in your game plan or the way you played?
Karman: I will not say that I was a different player because I played my same game style through out which I have developed in all these years. It is just that I did the right things continuously with more confidence and self belief. Also these things do not come in a day or so and it is a process. I kept my intensity and focus through out this tournament and got the desired result.
ME: After winning this tournament I believe you will reassess your own expectations. Any bigger goal that you have set for yourself?
Karman: After this tournament the ranking is good enough to play the qualifiers of Grand Slams. My goal is obviously to do well at the WTAs and Majors. So I am looking forward to it.
ME: Who would you like to give the most credit to your tennis journey?
Karman: My family for sure. My mom, dad and brother are my biggest support system who have stood behind me thought all the challenges. Credit also goes to everyone else including my coach Aditya Sachdeva Sir who has supported me throughout this journey and always believed in me.They have all been there for me through my ups and downs and motivated me to improve.
ME: How big is Mahesh Bhupathi’s role in your career?
Karman: Mahesh has been a big positive support for me. He is always there whenever I need to talk to him about anything and always gives a positive motivation to improve myself, work hard and to get better each day.
ME: You are fast catching up with Ankita Raina in terms of ranking. Does the feeling that you could become India`s top woman player in sometime distract you?
Karman: The race is not about being India No.1 or No.2. I have my own goal. This year I have set a target of reaching 150 on the WTA.
ME: What are your short and long term goals?
Karman: Short term goal is to play the main draw of the Grand Slams next year. The long term goal is hold the Grand Slam trophy.
Karman training at the famed Mouratoglou Tennis Academy (MTA)
ME: You have a big serve which often lead to double faults at crucial times. However in this tournament you hardly had any double faults. Was it a conscious effort on your part?
Karman: First serve is my weapon. Also I have improved the second serve and have been getting the percentage higher with effectiveness.
ME: Now that your ranking has improved considerably so are you gong to make the shift to the next ladder from the ITF circuit soon?
Karman: Yes, I will try to mix WTAs and ITFs till the year end and it also depends on the performance and ranking after each tournament.
ME: Which is your favourite surface and Grand Slam? Also who is your role model that you look upto?
Karman: Hard is my favourite surface. Wimbledon is favourite Grand Slam. Maria Sharapova is my role model and I adore her.
ME: When you are not on the tour what is your typical day of training? Also are your strict on your diet?
Karman: When I am training it is usually 3-4 hours of tennis and 1-2 hours of fitness. Yes, to stay fit and healthy during the tournaments and training all year round is very important. As an athlete I have to be strict with my diet and have a very disciplined life.
ME: Tennis being an expensive sport can you tell us about your sponsors?
Karman: I have just started with Cornerstone this year and it is going pretty well. They are taking good care in terms of what players need physically and nutrition wise.
Moreover ASICS and HEAD are my favourites who are my outfit and racket sponsors receptively.They provide the best stuff and put in the effort to provide me whatever I need no matter which part of the world I am in. No matter how urgent it is they are always there for me.
ME: How do you spend your free time? Also who are your favourite Bollywood actors and actress?
Karman: Well when I get some free time I will usually spend time with family and friends or go out for shopping and movies. Whenever I can, I take out some time for my hobbies like reading, drawing, nail art, make up etc. As for Bollywood my favourite actress is Deepika Padukone and actor is Siddharth Malhotra.
ME: Thank you so much Karman for your time. Wish you all the best for your future and I can tell you that you have the support from all of us in your journey forward.
Karman: Thanks to you too and all the best at your endeavor in promoting Indian tennis.
As I finish my interview, I begin to feel that we are going to see something special in tennis from Karman Kaur Thandi in years to come.