Tokyo Olympics – Ankita Raina to partner Sania Mirza: India’s highest-ranking woman tennis player Ankita Raina will partner with multiple Grand Slam winner Sania Mirza in the women’s doubles at the Tokyo Olympics. Raina confirmed her selection to her employer ONGC in a tweet on Tuesday. Earlier, speculations had been rife about Raina’s partner with Mirza still making a slow comeback to the circuit after the birth of her son.
“With great honour and pride, I inform you that I have been selected to represent India at the Olympics in the women’s doubles category, partnering Sania Mirza. The effort and hard work put in all these years have been fruitful with your invaluable support and encouragement! I take this opportunity to express my immense gratitude to ONGC corporation. I will do my best to make India proud,” Ankita Raina said in a post shared by ONGC, her employer.
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While this will be the first Olympics for Ankita Raina, for Sania Mirza, it will be third. Mirza had earlier partnered Sunitha Rao for Beijing Olympics, Rushmi Chakravarthi for London Olympics and Prarthana Thombare for Rio Olympics. She will have another new partner in Tokyo Olympics. However, the Raina-Mirza duo has played together in the Fed Cup (Billie Jean King Cup).
Tokyo Olympics: The two qualified based on Sania Mirza’s injury-protected ranking of No 9. As per qualification standard, she can choose a doubles partner whose WTA World Ranking in doubles is within the top-300. Ankita Raina’s doubles rank at present is 95 while in singles, she is ranked 183. The ranking of June 14 will be applicable to make the cut.
Sania Mirza is expected to partner with Rohan Bopanna for mixed doubles. Bopanna is currently ranked 40th in the ATP Rankings. Bopanna is also expected to make the cut for men’s doubles, partnering Divij Sharan.
Furthermore, Ankita Raina could also feature in Tokyo Olympics’ singles draw having won the bronze medal at the Asian Games. The Asian Games gold medal winner receives a wild card to the Olympics. However, in this case, both gold and silver medallists — Wang Qiang and Zhang Shuai (both from China) — will qualify for Tokyo Olympics based on their rankings of 39 and 46, opening the door for Raina’s qualification.