Thursday, February 5, 2009

Indian Tennis....a new High!!!!

Indian Tennis has recently witnessed proud moments. After Somdev had India screaming for more at the last Chennai ATP meet, with prize scalps, a couple of months back, the just concluded Australian Open had all of us go delirious with success. First of all came the success of Yuki Bhambri, winning the boy’s title. The first Indian to have done so at the Australian Open. Earlier, Ramanathan Krishnan won the Wimbledon boy’s title in 1954, later his son Ramesh Krishnan won both the Junior Wimbledon & French Open in 1970, & Leander Paes won it at the Junior Wimbledon & the US Open in 1990. Big achievements, these considering that India has not been known to produce Tennis stalwarts. Yuki, who had lost in the semifinals last year, looked out & out a champion this year, & won the title with comparative ease. He later mentioned, that he would concentrate on the Men’s circuit now……lets hope that the tall & gangling Yuki brings in more laurels for Indian Tennis. He along with Somdev look good & ready to take on the mantle of Indian Tennis from Leander Paes & Mahesh Bhupati, who have been hogging the limelight for some time now.

Equally significant has been the success of the mixed doubles pair Sania & Mahesh at the Australian Open. While it has been the 11th Grand Slam title for Mahesh, it’s the first for Sania. Together, they have won the first mixed doubles Grand Slam title for India. Both Leander & Mahesh have won mixed doubles titles earlier, but none with an Indian partner, which is what makes this win so significant. For Sania, this must be really special, as she has been hitting the news for the wrong reasons for some time now. Either its been injuries, or endorsements, or backlash from religious communities, Sania has been at the receiving end & there have been speculations of her being over hyped & under performed. This win certainly should act as a huge booster to her career. What, she needs to decide is whether to concentrate on the singles, which would mean a lot more focused fitness regimen & rigorous improvements in her game to make it to the top tier. She is all of 22 yrs & therefore a long career ahead, but, being very prone to injuries could do her a lot of harm. She has shown potential & spark at the highest levels, but they have all been in very short bursts.
Mahesh Bhupati, continues to make a niche for himself. Incidentally, he has won seven different Grand Slam mixed doubles, all with different partners, which is truly amazing. He along with Leander, became the first Indian pair to win a Grand Slam title in 1999. Both of them as a doubles team reached the finals of all the four Grand Slams that year, a feat achieved for the first time in the Open Era. They went on to become the World’s No 1 doubles pair… we all wish they continued together… many more records would have tumbled. Let us hope, he continues to pair with Sania & win more such laurels now.