Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Star of the Aircel Chennai Open 2012- Vishnuvardhan

At last something to cheer about on the sports scene other than cricket. The overfed, overpaid, underperforming giants put to rest the long-held opinion that they are giants in their part of the forest. All top-order giants collapsing one after the other and giving the new Australian pacers the debut of their life. Enough of bat-ball and allied headaches.
Okay now, back to the object of my admiration and reason for cheer this week- Indian tennis- an oxymoron in itself isn’t it? I am not saying that there is a star on the horizon or that Indian tennis has got its knight in shining armour and all that blah. What I am saying it that I saw great tennis coming from the racket of a young 24 year old Indian called Vishnuvardhan and surprise not as a part of a doubles pair! I saw booming serves (207 kmph) and cracking passing shots, cross court forehands and down the line backhands that didn’t end outside the court or worse in the net. Vishnuvardhan’s play had me engrossed totally while he engaged world no. 35 Ivan Dodig of Croatia. There was a solid confidence about his play and I as a spectator never for a moment doubted his shots that sailed effortlessly over the net and into the opponent’s no-man’s land. Something that I have never experienced while watching Sania Mirza. Watching her play is being subject to agony over every point. That’s another story though.
Vishnuvardhan’s world ranking is 313 and who know where he might be one year from now! He might knock the 3 on extreme right or the first digit from the left. Eitherways he is a winner and I wont be surprised if he does. He has age on his side and the attention of the mentors who matter most on the India tennis scene- Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes. This tall, dark solid guy who hits the best down the line forehand and backhand (that I have seen of Indian tennis players) even has a B.Com in computers and works in HR for ONGC. He has his basics right- few unforced errors and winners that land right in. Though I did notice that most of his volleys got in the net or landed wide off the court. In the end, he lost to Ivan Dodig but not before he showed consistent quality of play that is the hallmark of all players aspiring to break into higher ranks.
Go Vishnu Go. Vamosss!

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