She balanced the sport with her education for four years
Indian-origin tennis player Astra Sharma is making headlines in Australia for her impeccable talent on the court.
Many citizens of Indian descent living abroad have previously represented their country of residence.
Now, aged just 25, Astra Sharma is one of Australia’s rising tennis stars.
Sharma is the daughter of an Indian father and a Singaporean-Chinese mother, and began playing tennis at a young age.
She balanced the sport with her education for four years while gaining her undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, USA.
Never hindered by injuries, Sharma became the South East Conference Player of the Year in 2017.
She also gained American Honours in the singles and doubles categories.
During her time at university, Sharma made a five-spot jump into the top 250.
She initially entered the International Tennis Federation (ITF) circuit, managing to play most of her tournaments alongside her academic studies.
As a result, she rose to rank 2 in the US Women’s Tennis rankings.
Sharma won her first title in Egypt in 2015, moving her up the singles rankings from her original spot at 787.
Following on from this, she competed at the European ITF and North American tennis circuits.
Astra Sharma’s tennis highlight
Astra Sharma’s biggest tennis achievement to date is reaching the mixed doubles final of the 2019 Australian Open.
She defeated multiple pairs including Édouard Roger-Vasselin and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Despite losing the mixed doubles final, the then 22-year-old was ranked at a career-high rank of 89 in the singles category and 108 in the doubles.
Clearly, Sharma will have no problem with building on this performance at all of her future grand slams.
Astra Sharma’s professional career in tennis originally came under threat due to potential long-term injuries. This defined the star’s move to the US on a scholarship to Vanderbilt University.
Whilst there, Sharma received the best form of treatment, and her father Devdutt spoke highly of her coach at Vanderbilt during an interview.
Devdutt Sharma said:
“He gave a full scholarship to an athlete who turns up and can’t even play for a year but he stuck with her.
“He gave her a redshirt which means she would be allowed to play for a further 4 years.
“Also on scholarship but not playing was how much trust Geoff had in her.”
Sharma’s coach developed her game both on and off the tennis court, and she came back even stronger as a result.
Now, Indian sporting fans are sure to be watching Astra Sharma closely over the next decade. Her continuous success will be followed by many for years to come.