Uberoi sisters are American by nationality Indian by heart
Hyderabad, Feb. 15: After the high-profile Prakash Amritraj, it’s the lesser known Uberoi sisters who want to switch their allegiance from USA to India on the tennis circuit for “patriotic reasons.”
Shikha and Neha are Indian-Americans currently ranked 387 and 446 on the WTA Tour and are yearning to play for India in the future.
That will be possible only after some formalities are completed, which involves correspondence between the All Indian Tennis Association, United States Tennis Association and the International Tennis Federation.
They live in residences in New Jersey and Florida and “will have a base in India once the approval comes through.” Shikha (20) and Neha (17) incidentally are first cousins of Bollywood star Vivek Oberoi, and “love watching Hindi movies” — Company and Kal Ho Na Ho being the lastest.
“The family name is actually Uberoi and it was somehow misprinted as ‘Oberoi,’ which was carried on. But if you look at his passport, it will be ‘Uberoi’ and not Oberoi,” says Suresh’s younger brother Mahesh Uberoi, father of Shikha and Neha, who have their roots in Hyderabad.
Mahesh studied at the St George’s Grammar and Hyderabad Public Schools and joined the IIT Chennai. He left Hyderabad for Mumbai in 1969 and then settled in the USA. In 2001 he sold his IT company to manage his children’s career.
Shikha was born in (then) Bombay and Neha in the USA. Can the girls speak Hindi? “Fluently,” Mahesh says. Write? “I can write my first name in Hindi,” quips Neha. “But we do try and make an effort,” they say.
Shikha and Neha, coached by Rick Macci, who has Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Jennifer Capriati and Andy Roddick on his wards’ list, aim to get on top of the world ranking one day. “We are looking at the world No.1 spot, that is what I feel is our potential,” Shikha said.
Neha’s a bit sober. “We have a strong desire to become a big success on the professional circuit,” she said.
For the present, the sisters have discontinued studies to turn professional. But they “will get back to the university if needed.”
However, only one will get into the singles main draw as they are pitted against each other in the qualifying quarterfinals, to be played on Monday morning.