Total submission is the secret

power woman

Total submission is the secret

She was the first Indian woman to qualify for and reach the second round of the US Open in 2004. She was one among the top 10 fastest servers in the world. She is one of India’s top 10 most glamorous athletes. And today, she is the co-founder of Indi.com. Meet former top 100 WTA Tour tennis player, Shikha Uberoi.

Flashback

Tennis, Shikha says, came naturally to her. “My father was a celebrated table tennis player in his time. While the sport has never failed to inspire me, I always knew that I was more than just a tennis player. In fact, that is why I semi-retired from the sport and went back to complete my education at Princeton University.” Shikha’s undergraduate degree comprised a major in Anthropology and a minor in South Asian studies.

She won the prestigious Kit Harris Memorial Award for Leadership and Ethics during her time there. Playing a demanding sport like tennis at an internationally level was “a fascinating privilege,” she shares. “It is rigorous and grueling. Facing a lot of defeat early on teaches you important lessons about failure. In the race to become world number 1, you learn a lot about yourself. It starts influencing the way you perceive the world.”

So, what does it take to be a successful sportsperson? “The key to be a good sportsperson is two short words — total submission. You dedicate your whole life to the pursuit of excellence. It involves a lot of blood, sweat and tears, with some glory on the way to keep you going,” Shikha elaborates.

Business matters

Shikha launched her media and lifestyle company SDU Seva Inc. in 2013 and is currently creating and producing international social issue-based television shows. She speaks at diplomatic conferences across the globe on women’s empowerment through sports and is slowly gaining recognition as an advocate of the cause in India.

The 33-year-old has recently been invited to be on the board of directors of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Initiative in Bhopal. She is now vying for the title of India’s ambassador for fitness and health. She is also the co-founder of Indi.com, a free global video platform where brands engage with their audiences. “The website is a total game changer. It is one of those platforms that change behaviour patterns and enable people to connect with the seemingly inaccessible. I want to drive Indi to success and make it a billion-dollar company,” says Shikha.

Making TV shows

She is also the founder of Impact Media 360, where she creates and produces “purposeful programming” or TV programs that catalyse change. Her show The Real Deal - with 13 episodes - is about impact investment and social entrepreneurs who invest in changing lives for the better. “I loved creating and producing The Real Deal and I am currently taking it across the globe. I’m also actively involved in the sports sector as a coach and mentor. All of these initiatives are close to my heart and make me look forward to waking up every day,” she says.

Family time

Her father, Shikha says, is her inspiration. “He is one of the greatest people I have ever known. Growing up with my mother and my four sisters – who are incredibly strong and talented women – has made me what I am today,” she shares. Having spent many years in the United States and India, she’s represented both countries in international tournaments. Over five years, Shikha won three ITF titles and stormed into two WTA doubles finals with her sister Neha.

One of the biggest heartbreaks of her tennis career was when the Union government of 2008 abruptly cancelled the permission for overseas athletes of various disciplines to represent India. “It was so absurd and it killed so many careers. It was a shock that I don’t think I will ever get over. The repercussions have gone beyond damaging athletes on an individual level, and hindered, if not halted, the progress of many Indian sports.”

Outside of work, Shikha loves spending time with her family and says that when the five sisters get together, it is a riot. “I love ordering in pizza while watching a movie or a TV show. It is a hobby I have recently developed, thanks to my husband Divyansh. I love dancing more than anything else, and recently, I have been cooking on a daily basis. As long as I don’t burn anything, I’m not bad,” she says with a chuckle.

“I intend to start a family in the coming years but not before Indi begins to soar and The Real Deal catalyses major change on our planet,” she signs off.

Comments (+)