At 25 years old, Kyra Shroff is India's latest tennis sensation. Kyra emerged as a top athlete in 2012 when she represented India and led the Indian team at the Fed Cup. Since then, she's achieved a world rank of 89 in Juniors and competed at all the four Grand Slams. She's also been with Nike since she was 14 years old. We got the chance to talk to Kyra about her family, her hustle, and her love of the game.
What or who inspires you?
Lleyton Hewitt (Aussie tennis player) inspired me as a kid and even today. His die-hard attitude to fight till the last ball had died and to never give up is something that has helped me through many tough situations on and off the court. What I love about Lleyton is that he gave his everything, always. It didn't matter the circumstance if you wanted to win-- you'd have to beat him. He wouldn't give you anything free.
How long have you been playing tennis?
I've been playing tennis since I was 6 years old. My dad plays every day at the local club and would take me along to watch. Wasn't long before watching turned into troubling him to let me play.
How popular is tennis in India?
Tennis is very popular and is getting more and more popular as we speak. It started off with Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi making waves on the international circuit, and now with Sania Mirza's recent progress, it's safe to say we have a lot of kids playing tennis recreationally and aspiring to make it a profession as well.
Are you health conscious? What foods do you rely on to fuel you during long days of training?
I'm extremely careful of what I eat, I'm on a predominantly plant-based diet, and eat fish as and when required, I absolutely love avocado and try and incorporate it into my diet as often as possible. When I'm competing or training on court, I use products from a vegan sports nutrition company called Unived sports, their pea protein really helps me recover after a hard day of training.
Do you chew gum?
Yes, all the time.
Does everyone in your family play tennis?
Everyone at home plays at least a sport or two, so its safe to say we're a pretty sporting family, which always put a smile on my dad's face. Dad played semi-professional cricket in England for 6 years.
What’s the hardest part of being a professional athlete?
Being away from family, friends and missing out on the little things that happen back home. Sometimes the travel gets to you, being in a different country or continent week in and week out for 35 weeks of the year, and barely ever getting to see beyond airports, train stations, and tennis clubs. But I can't complain I get to do what I love and see and experience different cultures and meet different people all over the world, not everyone gets that chance and I'm very grateful for it.
Follow Kyra on Instagram to watch her journey to the top of the WTA!