Former World Championship medallist, Ashwini Ponnappa will pair with youngster Tanisha Crasto to resume her women’s doubles career from next season. Ashwini had mutually split her combination with Sikki Reddy earlier this year.
“We’re starting out from next year, hopefully we manage an entry at the India Open,” a very excited Tanisha, said on Friday. The duo have been training for a while now, and Tanisha reckons the partnership is coming along rather well, after both decided to pair up after parting ways with respective partners. “We both had different partners and split around the same time. The coaches suggested maybe we should play together. So we had a talk. I think it’s working out very well,” Tanisha added.
Should India Open not materialize, then the duo will try entering the Indonesia event. Ashwini was ranked No 24 along with Sikki, while Tanisha was No 130 with Shruti Mishra. “She needed someone who can finish from the front court, and I needed a partner who could hit from the back and set it up for me. We are working hard to gel this combination. It’s exciting, can’t wait to start,” she added.
Ashwini has a World’s medal to her name, as well as CWG gold and silver, and has taken over mentorship role playing with Sikki and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy. “I’ve always looked up to her as an idol. She has great on-court attitude and is one of the strongest hitters. I learn new things every single day from her,” Tanisha added.
The development is good news for India’s Uber Cup team, as now two formidable pairings can supplement the singles. With Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly cracking Top 20, Ashwini – Tanisha can get into the mix to offer two competitive challenges, given the second doubles was always a weak link in team events.