New Delhi: Buoyed by her Rio Olympics experience, Delhi girl Manika Batra is keen to make a mark at the ITTF World Tour India Open when the main draw begins at Thyagraj Stadium here on Thursday.
“I am high on confidence going into the tournament. I am already in the main draw and will be looking forward to put in a good performance for my country and hopefully win the tournament,” Batra told this paper on Tuesday.
“I think the experience in Rio will always help me. It makes me want to drive for more. Though, I had not performed really well in my first Olympics, when you play in events in such as those, you tend to learn a lot from your experiences,” the 21-year-old added.
Batra lost to Katarzyna Franc-Grzybowska 12-10, 6-11, 12-14, 11-8, 4-11, 12-14 in the first round of the women’s singles competition at Rio but gave a good account of herself.
Manika is seeded 10th at the India Open, the highest among the home-based girls, and is also the lone Indian in the top 100. With many stars skipping the event and the women’s field having only 28 confirmed entries, she will be under pressure to win in front of her home fans. However, instead of feeling pressure, the paddler is willing to focus on each game at a time.
“Yes, I think it will mean that I will have to live up to the standards set for me. But, going into a game I do not have such things in my mind and like to take each game at a time,” Batra said. Asked about the toughest opponent at the event, she said, “I think every match is tough and no one is easy to play against. I don’t think I’m wary of anybody specifically as I treat each and every opponent the same way.”...