Kanika Vaidya thread

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Kanika Vaidya thread

Postby PKBasu » Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:55 am

Although she narrowly missed our qualification standard (of winning a Futures title to have a thread of your own) today, Kanika deserves a thread in my opinion because of her meteoric rise in the past 3 weeks, including this week's Futures final, a singles SF in Indonesia two weeks ago, plus singles R2 the other week in Indonesia -- all achieved despite having to qualify into all three tournaments. so her fitness and stamina are clear strengths, as isvthe power of her forehand.

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Re: Kanika Vaidya thread

Postby jayakris » Sat Jul 20, 2013 1:30 pm

PKB finds all kinds of reasons to start player threads :) ... But this one is just fine. Kanika is good! Jay

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Re: Kanika Vaidya thread

Postby PKBasu » Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:49 pm

Thanks Jay :-) . On FB, Kanika has posted a photo of her posing with Shivang Mishra with her runner-up trophy, so its official that he is currently her traveling coach. And the photo was accompanied by lots of ribbing of Shivang by Kanika, Karunuday Singh, Ria Vaidya and several others (mainly about his purple cap and purple-striped t-shirt!). Whatever Shivang is doing is clearly working, when it comes to Kanika's game!

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Re: Kanika Vaidya thread

Postby Saniapower » Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:43 am

@PKB where she is playing next ?

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Re: Kanika Vaidya thread

Postby PKBasu » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:04 am

She won't be playing any more tournaments during the summer (i.e., she is now relaxing at home in Singapore with the family for the next four weeks or so) before returning to Columbia University for the fall semester.

My presumption is that she will resume playing only next summer -- and perhaps one or two tournaments during the winter/spring breaks, and any Futures, etc. that are held in or near New York City. I think this is a very sensible plan, focusing on improving the game during the summer and then on the college circuit, and adding some points to her total wherever possible -- so that she can come to the pro circuit with a ranking around 500-600 when she finishes college.

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Re: Kanika Vaidya thread

Postby PKBasu » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:38 am

Kanika now has a doubles ranking of 1152, but still doesn't have a singles ranking. This is bizarre: she has singles points from three tournaments, so those should now be in -- or does the WTA/ITF take even longer (2-3 weeks?) to put Futures points in??!

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Re: Kanika Vaidya thread

Postby sameerph » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:43 am

Thanks, PKB for the info. I though she might be playing 2 $10K futures in Delhi in the week of Aug 19/ 26 to try to further bulid up points.

In any case, IMO she should probably not spend more than 1 year in college circuit as on the womens side players tend to mature a lot earlier & not too many players who have spent 3-4 years in college tennis have been successful in pros . This is contrary to men where we have a lot such players who have done well in pros even after spending 4 years in college such as Somdev.

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Re: Kanika Vaidya thread

Postby PKBasu » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:54 am

My feeling (based on her playing pattern, not on anything I have discussed with her or the family) is that she is serious about getting an education, and is assessing her chances of making it as a tennis professional properly: that is, if she thinks she can make top-100 in singles or doubles, she will pursue the tennis dream fully, otherwise not. Getting into an Ivy League school suggests pretty serious academic intent.

This summer of tennis has been a real revelation (to me, and I think to her and her family too). She has shown that she has serious potential, and will be ranked in the 800s when the ranking points go in. She will go back to school, and try and improve on her game further. Next summer, if she is playing well enough to get her ranking to go up to the top-500, I'm sure she and the family will re-assess options. This year, she played 5 tournaments -- in all of which she had to play qualifiers. Next summer, she will probably be able to play 5-6 tournaments without having to go through the qualifying grind -- and she can similarly enter a few Futures tournaments during the course of the year in the US as well. This is a very interesting way to build a pro career, I think!

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Re: Kanika Vaidya thread

Postby sameerph » Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:10 am

PKBasu wrote:Kanika now has a doubles ranking of 1152, but still doesn't have a singles ranking. This is bizarre: she has singles points from three tournaments, so those should now be in -- or does the WTA/ITF take even longer (2-3 weeks?) to put Futures points in??!


She is very much ranked in singles now. Ranked 876 & just outside Indian top 10 players.

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Re: Kanika Vaidya thread

Postby Omkara » Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:17 am

Interesting decision to test waters before jumping into it. Cost of playing tennis has gone up. Without adequate financial support no point continuing with the sport unless you are in love with it.

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Re: Kanika Vaidya thread

Postby PKBasu » Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:35 am

Oh I think she is very much in love with tennis. But an Ivy League grad will have lots of other options as well -- and she will probably pursue pro tennis seriously only if she is sure that she can make a worthwhile career of it. Of course, it requires enormous dedication (from player and parent) to get to even where she is now. But she (or her dad) has taken a couple of surprising -- and very smart -- decisions in the past 2-3 years, thereby greatly widening her choices/options outside tennis, once they figured that a successful pro career (ie, top-100 in singles or doubles) was not a certainty. All just my hunch -- not based on any discussions with her or her family.

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Re: Kanika Vaidya thread

Postby Saniapower » Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:16 pm

She should study tennis. She has got the potential. Is she doesn't like to pursue a tennis career then she has not done justice to her talent.

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Re: Kanika Vaidya thread

Postby PKBasu » Sat Aug 10, 2013 3:37 am

Yes, I think she clearly has the talent -- and may really be a serious contender to make top-100 some day, given the scientific way in which her parents (especially her dad) have conducted her career and training so far.

I spent about an hour chatting at length with her dad Jayesh last night. (It was the first time he and I had been introduced; I had spoken to the mother a couple of times in the past, although she isn't the one actually running Kanika's tennis program, the dad is). The way he approaches his daughter's tennis reminded me especially of Seb Coe's description (in his wonderful autobiography) of how his dad Peter handled his career -- with virtually no real help from the British athletics federation.

Kanika's story first: her dad Jayesh comes from a sporting family (his mother was not only a pioneering woman in the IAS, but was mixed doubles champion of India at badminton; Jayesh and his sister were national level badminton players too, and he plays a lot of other sports quite well, including tennis). Kanika and her sister were good at many sports -- swimming, track & field, tennis, badminton -- and Jayesh/Malini encouraged their interest in all of them. One day someone from the Singapore Tennis Association saw Kanika play tennis, was very impressed, and suggested she play tournaments. At 11+, she entered and won the Singapore under-18 championships -- and Jayesh began to take her tennis much more seriously. At 13, she had a freak accident -- stamping on a tennis ball, falling and "losing" her knee. That cost her more than a year (of recovery, points lost, etc.). Before this, both Kanika and younger sister Ria had gone to the MSLTA championships, and won their age groups with ease (despite a long flight from Singapore to Mumbai and Pune, having been informed about participation at the last minute). Apparently, Kanika crushed the likes of Rishika at that stage. (I had heard about the injury before, and put two and two together, although Jayesh didn't want to dwell on it). She is obviously a pretty good student -- and Jayesh says he always urges other tennis parents (especially from India) not to neglect their child's studies, as that keeps their options open and puts lets pressure on their tennis.

Currently, Kanika is doing an internship, but plays tennis under the watchful eye of Shivang Mishra twice a day -- from 6-8am, and then again from 7-9:30pm. Her sister Ria almost certainly has more raw talent, but doesn't have anywhere near Kanika's determination and drive. Ria stopped playing tennis for 3 years -- despite Jayesh sitting her down to tell her all that she was possibly missing out on -- but resumed playing at the start of last year, and quickly moved inside top-250 in the juniors after just a few tournaments.

Jayesh is a trained medical doctor, and so understands the biomechanics of the human body well. He has focused on getting his daughters' first serve speed and consistency, forehand and backhand speed and revolutions, foot-speed over 5m and 20m, agility (ability to turn at speed), jumping ability, etc. to be measurably close to the top of their age cohort globally -- and also at reasonable reach relative to the top pros. These are the aspects that Shivang Mishra is also honing for them this summer. (Shivang trained under Paul Dale, who was Kanika's coach previously -- and has now taken charge of Karunuday Singh, and Jayesh is impressed by his dedication and focus on all the aspects that can make someone a genuinely competitive pro).

At Columbia, she has gained especially from the assistant coach (a Filippina, who was a tennis star at Stanford, and played professionally for some time before realizing that her height was limiting her chances; of course, Kanika has height on her side: she is just short of 6' tall, Ria half an inch taller). There are some limitations to the college system, with the place on the roster being determined partly by seniority and partly by coaches' desire to win some "sure points" by having a player play at a lower level (easier for freshmen, who have no national rank..). Kanika has still gained a lot from the system, but will probably gain more in the year ahead.

Currently, the focus is on improving her temperament (a clear weakness: she had matchpoints against the top seed in R1 of one of the Taiwan Futures, but failed to convert; and similarly, double-faulted four times when she was about to take a 5-3 lead in the first set of the final against Ankita), and her prone-ness to unforced errors (giving the opponent easy points for no apparent reason). Jayesh is also not entirely satisfied with her agility, although the speed of her first serve and groundstrokes are her strengths. (And volleying is good too).

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Re: Kanika Vaidya thread

Postby sameerph » Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:43 am

Thanks,PKB for the detailed inside info. Nice to know that her father is looking into minute details of her tennis career & should surely know when is the right time for her to turn pro.

I just google seached on the women in recent times who have gone to college tennis & have done well in pros. At the moment, there is only one player in WTA top 100 who has gone to college, 73th ranked Irina Falconi. However, there are 4 more women who are inside top 200 & a couple of them actually broke into top 100 briefly. All of them have spent about 2-3 years in college tennis.

So, it is not totally out of place for a college player to reach WTA top 100 although it is rare. All the 5 players who have reached top 200 in WTA have been ranked either at top or in top 3 in ITA rankings.

So, Kanika should look at getting into top 10 or so in the ITA rankings this year. I hope with her pro success, he college coach will play her at no.1 . Then, they can take a call after next year if she is ready for pros or needs to go 1 more year to college.

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Re: Kanika Vaidya thread

Postby PKBasu » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:19 am

Kanika was named Columbia University's Athlete of the Week after beating everyone (including nationally-ranked (& Penn #1) singles player Sol Eskenazi 63 63) in the Columbia Invitational (which Eskenazi's bio says she won last year; she was ranked #31 among the world's juniors in early 2011, and was ranked 739 by the WTA before going to college); the tournament had players from Columbia, Penn, St John's and Amherst College. So it does appear that she will be playing at #1 this year for Columbia.

I notice that Bidyut Goswami has long been the Head Coach of the Columbia tennis program. And Gaurav Misra is director of the Dick Savitts Tennis Center at Columbia. So lots of Indian tennis connections there!


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