Bopanna, Ankita to spearhead Indian challenge in tennis at Asian Games

New Delhi:┬áDoubles specialist Rohan Bopanna will once again be the flag-bearer of India’s hopes in tennis at the Asian Games as the All India Tennis Association (AITA) on Tuesday announced a 12-member squad for the continental quadrennial games.

The Asian Games will begin in Hangzhou on September 23 with the men’s team comprising Sumit Nagal, Sasikumar Mukund, Davis Cupper Ramkumar Ramanathan, Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni besides the 43-year-old Bopanna.

The women’s contingent will be led by the previous Asian Games bronze medallist in singles, Ankita Raina. The other members are Karman Kaur Thandi, Rututaj Bhosle, Sahaja Yamlapalli, Vaidehi Chaudhari and Prarthane Thombare, according to a statement issued by AITA.

India had won a gold and two bronze medals at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, where the Bopanna-Divij Sharan pair had defeated Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik and Denis Yevseyev to clinch the doubles gold.

In the men’s singles Prajnesh Gunneswaran had won bronze in men’s singles.

Former India player Rohit Rajpal has been named captain of the men’s squad while Ankita Bhambri will be the captain of the women’s team.

The core of the Indian contingent in both men’s and women’s sections largely remains the same, with Ramanathan, Nagal and Bopanna also featuring in the side that competed in the Jakarta Games.

Among women, four players who competed in Jakarta five years back — Ankita, Karman, Ruturaj and Prarthana — are also in the current side, while Sahaja and Vaidehi are the new additions.

The squad: Men’s: Sumit Nagal, Sasikumar Mukund, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Yuki Bhambri, Rohan Bopanna and Saketh Myneni.

Women’s: Ankita Raina, Karman Kaur Thandi, Rutuja Bhosale, Sahaja Yamlapalli, Vaidehi Chaudhari, Prarthana Thombare.