Tennis - 23-year-old Astra Sharma has been one of the breakthrough players of the 2019 season and the Australian player says her year so far has gone exactly as she hoped it would go. Speaking to Tennis Australia, Sharma says, "It’s been a very good run for me, and I think I take that with a lot of gratitude and a lot of respect, because I know it wasn’t easy, and it’s not easy to replicate – I don’t expect to but I certainly hope that I can.
Just looking back, it’s been exactly what I hoped for, just trusting my process, not thinking too much about the ranking – in fact, I barely track my ranking. It’s a good tool to get into tournaments but at the end of the day I wanna keep putting myself in positions where I’m playing the top players and the ranking essentially allows me to do that, which I’m grateful for”.
The 23-year-old qualified for the Australian Open in January and reached the second round in singles and also reached the mixed doubles final with John-Patrick Smith. She also won an ITF title in Mexico in March and has climbed to No.
138 in the singles rankings in the world. Speaking about the reasons for her improvement this year, Sharma says, "I think I learn a lot quicker from a loss. I’m really good now I think of isolating what I need to work on and then pulling that out and getting really specific in practices.
The process is hard work and dedication, but with a much more high-level specificity. We all have good forehands and backhands and volleys, but if I can just pull out a certain shot and be like, this is what I’ve not executed – I can execute it 70 per cent and it’s pretty effective, but I want to be able to do it at 95 per cent and have it be even more effective.
It’s about improving what I have and definitely these matches (at WTA level) expose what my weaknesses are. It’s not a discouragement – for me it’s more like, good, this is what I need to get back on court with, and next time I want to be able to step on court and know that I’ve done the work on that and it’s not gonna bother me any more and patch up all those little holes and leaks in my game."