Sania Mirza’s record of having 10 ITF juniors’ titles was unbeaten until 17-year-old Zeel Desai came along. The country-top ranked junior tennis player, Desai recently won the ITF Junior Grade 2 event in Tin Hau, Hong Kong and crashed Mirza’s record with this victory. She beat Thai player Thasaporn Naklo, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 in the tournament and it made her jump 19 ranks above her original of 53rd to 34th rank now.
As Desai moves towards in the top-30 players in the new season, here are a few things you must know about her:
- After Sania Mirza, Desai is the only Indian player who has ever won 10 ITF juniors’ titles in the history of Indian women’s tennis, the ITF Junior Grade 2 event in Tin Hau, Hong Kong was her 11th title. She is also ranked number one in India in the U-18 category.
- At younger ages, she has also been the top ranked Indian in the U-14 and U-16 categories.
- The young tennis player’s interest in the game was developed by her father, Mehul Desai, who pushed her into the game. Admittedly, Desai took some time before she started enjoying the game.
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- Desai, a resident of Ahmedabad, started playing tennis from the age of seven and it has been a decade since she has been playing the game.
- She has won 27 games in the singles matches in this season and 15 games in the doubles tournaments. Her career’s singles victories are closing to a century now with only four wins to go.
- Her coach, Todd Clark, is an Australian native and has about 20 years of experience in the game. He has been a part of Desai’s tennis career since he joined Ahmedabad Racquet Academy (ARA), it has been over a year now.
- Desai’s future includes participating in her first junior Grand Slams, beginning in Melbourne Park in the next season.
Picture credit- The Fan Garage