Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): There is no government job. Nor is there any financial support from the government. This is what the country’s top-seeded woman tennis player Karman Kaur Thandi told Free Press in a brief interview on Tuesday.
She was in Bhopal to take part in ITF $40K (US $40,000) Women’s Tennis Tournament. She spoke on status of tennis in India. Excerpts
How did your tennis career begin?
I was eight when my parents introduced me and my brother to tennis. As I started competing, that feeling of winning made me realise that this is what I enjoy, and yeah, since then, tennis is my full-time job.
Who was your inspiration in tennis?
Sania Mirza is my favourite Indian tennis player. There are a few other players too who are doing great like Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni.
How was period of Covid lockdown for you?
Lockdown was tough. I had no source of income. My father is a businessman and his business was affected due to Covid. I was not even able to pay for my online fitness sessions. At that point, I realised that having a job would have been beneficial.
What perks are you getting from the government?
I am not getting any sort of perks from the government. There is no government job. Nor is there any financial support from the state. It is funny because I am number one tennis player. If I am not getting anything from the government, then who else would?
How do you manage your expenses?
Tennis is an expensive sport. But when our racket starts talking, we start getting private sponsorships. Also, when we win, we get prize money. But yes, apart from all this, we, specially probable Olympic players, should get financial support from the government.
How are things in Indian tennis?
See, things are getting better. You can’t compare the support and viewership of cricket with tennis in India. In other countries, tennis is very popular. But in India, I guess, cricket is huge.
Which sport do you watch apart from tennis?
I love watching hockey and soccer. Hardik Singh is my favourite player in the Hockey World Cup squad.