Mom of one Nirupama makes it to CWG squad

The All India Tennis Association ( AITA) on Thursday named comeback mom Nirupama ( Vaidyanathan) Sanjeev as the fourth member in the Indian women’s team which will compete in the Commonwealth Games ( CWG) to be held in the capital from October 3 to 14.

Sania Mirza will spearhead the Indian challenge with the other two members being Rushmi Chakravarthy and Poojashree Venkatesh.

Nirupama last played for India at the Busan Asian Games in 2002 and, by her own admission; she had done “ nothing worth note”. “ It’s an awesome feeling to have made it back to the Indian team,” Nirupama told media from Pune. “ I did stop playing professional tennis quite some time ago but the urge to come back was strong,” said Nirupama, mother of a four- year- old girl.

“ After marriage, I settled down in California but still never lost touch with the sport. I have been coaching there for a few years but I decided over a year back I did want to attempt a comeback.

And what better way than try my luck at the national camp,” said Nirupama.

Last December, Nirupama had competed in a Challenger event in Pune and won a round.

It had impressed Jaidip Mukherjea, who is in charge of the national camp.

Nirupama returned for the national camp to Pune again a fortnight ago. Coaches Enrico Piperno and Nandan Bal were also convinced that Nirupama had worked very hard and her usefulness as a doubles player merited her inclusion in the team.

It is learnt that in practice matches, Nirupama had beaten even a couple of the youngsters who were part of the national camp.

At a time when the Indian women’s tennis team has been left depleted after two players – Sunitha Rao and Shikha Uberoi – were rendered ineligible as they do not hold Indian passports, Nirupama grabbed the chance.

“ My husband Sanjeev, my daughter Sahana, my parents and my inlaws have been very supportive in my comeback bid,” said Nirupama.

“ My first goal was to make a comeback in the team. Now that I have done it, I can now look at what medals the team can win and where I can be a part of it,” said Nirupama.

Mukherjea said: “ Nirupama’s doubles experience would come in handy. We have the women’s doubles and also mixed doubles events and decided that someone with good doubles experience would fit the bill.”


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