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Ready, set, go!

Krithika Karthikeyan, IIK Young Reporter
Saturday, March 21, 2020

‘Sports’ is a word that makes our generation perspire on-spot. Almost 75% of us are well-fitted sitting at home, inside an AC bunker, and playing games or reading books. We do not take the time to ensure our physical health is alright. A knack for specialty in sports falls in only 25% of today’s kids.

On 6th of February, 2020 the news spread like wildfire. Everywhere, on all Kuwait-based news portals, the news was out. It was official. An Indian girl had won her maiden U-16 title in the Tennis contest conducted by the Rafal Nadal Tennis Academy; and made all us Indians proud. The match took place in the newly inaugurated Sheikh Jaber Al-Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah International Tennis Complex. She received her trophy from the champion Rafael Nadal himself. Now that is something to gawk upon!

Sai Harshita Adivi is a 9th grade student studying in FAIPS-DPS, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, India, who lifted her maiden U-16 title in an open Tennis match, making her the first Indian to receive such an honor. Let us know her more in this exclusive chat with

IIK: Please do introduce yourself.

Sai Harshita: My name is Sai Harshita Adivi. I’m now in 10th grade and study in FAIPS-DPS. I hail from Bhimavaram, West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh. I’m very glad in getting this trophy. It’s a great opportunity, and getting a trophy from such a legend who is one of the top players of the world is a great feeling.

IIK: It’s great how you lifted the U-16 trophy, and you’re the first Indian in Kuwait to receive such an accolade. How do you feel about it?

Sai Harshita: I’m very happy. Meeting Rafael Nadal was great itself, but beside him was his best friend and competitor David Ferrer, two people I admire the most. It was wonderful that I played in the presence of such players and I’m thankful to the Rafael Nadal academy for conducting such a tournament, as opportunity for girls to participate in such tournaments is rare here in Kuwait.

IIK: That was quite an experience. So tell us more about this championship and your experience with it.

Sai Harshita: It was a great experience. Rafael Nadal academy is known for giving world class coaching in this sport and it was a great experience to see that academy has come to Kuwait to conduct this tournament as well as launching their academy here in Kuwait, first in this region. By winning this tournament I have been offered free training in Spain, where Rafael Nadal’s main academy is located.

IIK: That’s really good. How did you get to know about this tournament?

Sai Harshita: 4 to 5 days prior to the competition, we received a call from the person who was organizing the tournament, requesting me to participate. My coach had given my dad’s number to them, and that’s how they contacted us.

As I was in mid of final exams then, I was not mentally ready to participate. However, with support of my parents, I was able to participate in the tournament, in parallel to preparing for final exams and attending the same.

IIK: Which all tournaments have you played?

Sai Harshita: I’ve played many of the KOC tournaments, the Kuwait Open, the different lady clubs contests. Also, I represented Kuwait through my school in CBSE Nationals for the last four years held in India.

IIK: Were there any other Indians in the Rafael Nadal championship?

Sai Harshita: Yes. My friend Kavni was there participating too. She is also studying in FAIPS.

IIK: For how long have you been playing tennis, and how did you start playing tennis?

Sai Harshita: Ever since I was little, my parents have introduced me to a variety of sports. I’ve learnt swimming, skating, dancing, but at the end of the day, I was more interested towards tennis. I started developing more passion towards tennis. I started playing tennis about 4 to 5 years ago.

IIK: So who is your inspiration when it comes to this game?

Sai Harshita: I had a dream of meeting Rafael Nadal ever since I started playing this sport. That came true. It’s unbelievable that he came to Kuwait and handed me the trophy. I never imagined that he would come to Kuwait, when they decided to conduct this tournament. Meeting such a legend is a dream come true and I think, it is once in lifetime opportunity.

IIK: Who is your trainer?
Sai Harshita: There are many coaches who have been training me from my starting years. My first coach was Mr. Ray Sir. Though he is not in Kuwait now, but he was the one who taught me all the basics. I have two more coaches, Mr. Asif Sir and Mr. Khaliq Sir and Coach Manal. They’re very good and wonderful coaches. They have given me a lot of training. Besides this, there are so many experienced players (in KOC Tennis Club) who played with me during regular practice. Dr. Chaudhuri Uncle, Mr. William, Mr. Yousef, Mr. Wajid, Anurag Uncle, Yacoub Uncle and many more. Pl excuse me for not able to mention all such wonderful players.
In addition, I must thank Suresh Krishna Sir who also coached me in Hyderabad when I was there during summer holidays.

IIK: Great. So what is your daily routine to stay fit?
Sai Harshita: It’s necessary that I play tennis 2-3 hours a day, and I have to do the basic drills like running and daily warm-ups every day. A proper diet is also important. And now that I’m in 10th, I have to study, and need to learn how to balance both of them.

IIK: All the best with that. Could you tell our readers how you managed to study along with games until now?
Sai Harshita: I have a fixed routine and time table I have to stick to. Making a schedule is easy but sticking to it is very difficult. There has been many instances where I’ve missed many of my friends’ birthday parties because of this. At a certain point they stopped calling me because they knew I wouldn’t come. At that moment, I was pretty sad because I couldn’t go. Now when I think of it I understand that the sacrifices I made have borne fruits.

IIK: Gradually when you reach higher classes, the pressure on studies increases with it. Because of this pressure, have you ever compromised tennis?
Sai Harshita: As I do not go to tuitions, it is an opportunity for me to utilize my time effectively. My mum and dad help me if I have any doubts in my studies. I started online learning for the 9th grade, which also helped me cope up with studies. Since its online classes, even if I am travelling, I could take my laptop and listen. This makes it bit flexible for me to manage my time, which helps me focusing on the objectives of both studies and sports.

IIK: Where do you see yourself in the next coming 5 years?
Sai Harshita: I have a rank in the All India Tennis Championship, and have a highest rank of 646 out of 1200. This was a year ago. In the coming 5 years, I would want to be a much greater player, and I could see myself in a higher level with managing my studies. I have also keen interest and passion towards Indian classical dance. I have completed by Bharatanatyam Arangettram in April 2019, I completed two levels in Kathak and currently learning Kuchipudi. Dance, tennis and studies together have made up my schedule very tight. I have been playing tennis for about 4 to 5 years, but from the past 2 years, I have been taking tennis in a serious way.

IIK: I think we can all admit that tennis is a game of mistakes. It’s easy to commit a lot of mistakes. Has there ever been a time when you felt tennis was out of your league?
Sai Harshita: When I was young, my parents used to take me to tennis courts to play tennis. There is a KOC Tennis Committee which organizes tournaments regularly. I used to go play there, and slowly I developed the interest, so it’s never that I felt I can’t play tennis, but I used to feel very dejected when I lost against those players who were really hard, and had to work much harder to defeat them. During such losses, experienced players, coaches and parents stand by me to see how mentally I am fit besides improving my sporting skills.

IIK: But now you have practiced and accomplished such a feat. Have you ever felt a backlash from sports because of your gender?
Sai Harshita:In Kuwait, there are very less opportunities for girls in the field of tennis. There are only a few clubs, but they do not have enough encouragement for girls; I must convey thanks to Salwa Club for accepting me as a member of that club and I must thank Coach Manal. I’m very grateful to the Rafael Nadal academy for organizing such a tournament for under 16 girls in Kuwait, which is very rare. It’s very common in the Kuwait opens, where they have only under 18 tournaments for girls and it’s very hard to compete with. A 17/18-year- old will be competing with a 13-year-old and it becomes tough to play. My point is, girls who want to progress have to be encouraged more.

IIK: That’s really awe-inspiring. How has the support from friends, family and school helped you?
Sai Harshita: They’ve given me a lot of support. My parents, my family members, all the teachers and my coaches have acted as a pillar of support throughout. I want to thank the KOC tennis committee, which has brought me into the interest of playing more games. I had been to a short training in India, they too helped me a lot in how to motivate myself whenever I am playing. So, I’m very grateful to everyone who has helped me.

IIK: Great. So what guidance, would you give to the upcoming tennis players if they want to win championships?
Sai Harshita: They should never feel dejected when they lose a game, but they should take it as a motivation. If they win, they should only focus on making themselves better the next time. For this they need consistent practice and proper food diet. They need to be consistent about what they want.

IIK: I think that advice goes to everybody who wants to excel in their fields. Thank you for your valuable time with us and we wish you All the Best.
Sai Harshita: Thank you so much for this opportunity.
The Rafael Nadal academy is going to start functioning from April. This competition was the first U-16 girls contest from their side. A particular day was chosen by the Academy for the selections. Only 8 players were chosen by the Academy for the real game. For the next three games, they had quarters and semifinals, which were knockouts. If a contestant loses, they were out of the game.

Sai Harshita says the reaction from the others was really nice. Seeing the news channels and websites circulate her victory, she was really happy. Her grandparents were extremely happy. Being a girl, her world was different and nobody expected girls to win so much. All her teachers were really pleased. She has also played AITA (All India Tennis Association) matches.

Ms. Jyoti Patel has been her semi classical dance coach since UKG. She has done more than 30 performances on-stage. Guru Smt Rangashri, Guru Smt Sindhu Madhuraj are her Gurus for Bharatanatyam and continuing learning Kuchipudi with Guru Smt Sindhu Madhuraj. Guru Smt Piyali Gupta is her Kathak dance teacher. She shows an interest towards medical field, but she would mostly get into the field of sports.

She shows an interest towards medical field, but she would mostly get into the field of sports.

People like Sai Harshita are the inspirations for today’s kids to enhance their talents and bring out the best in them. All of us have an inner talent waiting to be exposed. Sai Harshita is one of the many examples for proving the fact that hard work and dedication is the key to success. Wishing her loads of success ahead.

Related News:
Rafael Nadal Academy launched in Kuwait; Indian girl Sai Harshita Adivi won maiden U-16 title

Krithika Karthikeyan
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Disclaimer:Statements and opinions expressed in the article are those of the authors and written by them; the author is solely responsible for the content in this article. does not hold any responsibility for them.
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Express your comment on this article

Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Well done Harshita ..U have served aces while answering all the very thought provoking questions by the young IIK reporter Karthika..
Keep it up and Enjoy your hard work..

Bala Siva Srikanth Adivi
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Thank you IIK for making this happen which will further motivate not only budding students, but in-general across. I believe IIK is one such platform that not only Indians, many nationalities love to access/share information. Great and outstanding efforts by all your team members.

Many thanks to Krithika Karthikeyan, IIK Young Reporter, for her valuable time and outstanding interview process. She did it an excellent way single handedly. God bless you Krithika.

Many thanks to all well-wishers for their blessings and wishes, which are very essential and are part of any achievement.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Good interview on a great achievement by Harshitha.
As I can see, she is multifaceted in many fields like Lawn Tennis, dancing, swimming, academics etc. But if she wants to think big and think beyond Kuwait, then she has to focus on a single/few goals and achieve them to her best of her ability.
God bless her and may her dreams come true.

Monday, March 23, 2020
చాలా గర్వపడుతున్నాం నిన్ను చూసి .. అలాగే ముందుకు సాగిపో (we are feeling proud by seeing you dear sai harshitha may god bless you maa.

Shyam Harshini
Sunday, March 22, 2020
If I were to write about all the reasons that I am grateful for you on little pieces of paper, they would fill up an entire room. You are amazing, and...

Read more at:

Sunday, March 22, 2020
Harshita is going to be future tennis star for sure and best wishes for her bright future it’s proud Movement for India as well as Kuwait, Congratulations once again for her achievement God Bless You...

Sridhar Sarika
Sunday, March 22, 2020
Congratulations on your well-deserved success.”
You have made us proud. Wish you all the luck for future endeavors.

Sunday, March 22, 2020
Amazing interview khushi.
Well done best wishes for future.

Sunday, March 22, 2020
Amazing interview......Well done khushi.
Keep it up.
Good luck for future.

Shabbir Ahmed
Saturday, March 21, 2020
Well Done Harshita,
Keep going this is just a start for U ,you have more to achieve for the sacrifices u gave and should give more sucess.


Saturday, March 21, 2020
Great...Felt proud of you...Best wishes in your future endeavour.

Dhiraj kumar
Saturday, March 21, 2020
God Bless you beta.

Saturday, March 21, 2020
Well done Khushi !
Very inspiring interview. May you achieve all of your goals.
Congratulations once again.

Ajay Kumar Mohanty
Saturday, March 21, 2020
Very good interview.... well thought reply to all questions... excellent... keep it up....

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