My Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘Sania Mirza

Considering this happened prior to the Olympics. It wasn’t a surprise that India did not even get close to getting a medal in Tennis.

My Thoughts

Recently the AITA (All India Tennis Association) announced the Indian Tennis teams for the upcoming London Olympics 2012. The overall announcement turned into a farce which ended up in the association having to redo the combinations. Tennis is one of the few sports where India has a strong chance of obtaining a medal in the Olympics. The strong Indian contingent comprises of fantastic doubles players such as Leander, Mahesh, Sania and Rohan Bopanna.

Everyone knows that Leander and Mahesh split once again for the 100th time last year and do not like to play with each other. It was pretty strange when AITA paired Leander with Mahesh for the London Olympics. But when the announcement came in there was a series of ugly spats in the media. Mahesh came in and refused to play with Leander and threatened to pull out. Leander for his part did the same thing. Rohan…

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Recently the AITA (All India Tennis Association) announced the Indian Tennis teams for the upcoming London Olympics 2012. The overall announcement turned into a farce which ended up in the association having to redo the combinations. Tennis is one of the few sports where India has a strong chance of obtaining a medal in the Olympics. The strong Indian contingent comprises of fantastic doubles players such as Leander, Mahesh, Sania and Rohan Bopanna.

Everyone knows that Leander and Mahesh split once again for the 100th time last year and do not like to play with each other. It was pretty strange when AITA paired Leander with Mahesh for the London Olympics. But when the announcement came in there was a series of ugly spats in the media. Mahesh came in and refused to play with Leander and threatened to pull out. Leander for his part did the same thing. Rohan Bopanna too refused to partner Leander as he has had a successful time partnering Mahesh in the grand-slams this year.

This was really sad when you consider that this was an Indian team which has been announced. Tennis as a sport is mostly individual except for certain events such as Olympics, Davis Cup etc…So it does not require the players to get along with each other like how it is with other team sports. The players and the AITA are both at fault here. AITA should have known about the situation and probably should have discussed the situation before announcing it to the media. The players too even though being unhappy should have spoken with the AITA first before expressing their displeasure openly to the media. It was ugly when Sania Mirza and Leander’s father too got involved in this circus.

I can’t believe that a person who is not even a member of AITA or has never played any tennis can come in public and request for a written assurance from a tennis player to partner his son. I feel sorry for the young Vishnu Vardhan who got stuck in this crossfire. He would have been honored to represent India at the highest stage and to be paired with a Legend in the Olympics only to find that Leander refused to partner with him unless Sania partnered with him for mixed doubles.

This seemed like a round of ugly politics and players egos coming to the fore. Leander and Mahesh are legends of Indian tennis but it seems like their egos are bigger than their achievements. We thank them for all the great things they have done for the Indian tennis but this situation could have been handled better. Threatening to pull out of a premier event for any reason when your country’s pride is at stake is an extremely selfish act. I understand that the mistake was from both the sides but a discussion behind the scenes would have been a much better option.

The young players look up to these legends for inspiration and this is not something they would like to see. I am just happy that the issue has been finally resolved and it seems like the players are happy with whom they have been paired with. Leander has finally agreed to pair with Vishnu and Mahesh with Bopanna. Sania Mirza will be paired with Leander and she said that she is honored to do so. Somdev and Sania will be playing singles after getting wild cards to represent India in the Olympics. After all this tamasha, it does look like India has some decent chance of multiple medals this year. I hope that the players put behind their differences and perform to the fullest in the event to bring glory to the country.

Nadal poses with John McEnroe after winning his record 7th French Open title.

Rafael Nadal continued his dominance on clay with a record 7th French Open title. He beat world number 1 Novak Djokovic in a tough four setter 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 to claim the title. The win also makes Nadal the most crowned man in the open era history at French Open. Like most of the grand slams over the past few years, this year too we saw the top three making it to the semis. Djokivic dismissed Federer in the semis to set up a mouthwatering encounter with the defending champion in the finals. The final was a brilliant spectacle with some blazing tennis from both the players but in the end the consistency of Nadal proved too much for the world number 1.

Sharapova claims the women’s title

Sharapova becomes the French Open champion thereby completing her career slam

Sharapova beat Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 in a one-sided final to claim the French Open crown. This was a sweet victory for Sharapova who in the process also regained her top spot in the rankings. This was a great comeback from the champion who went through a major surgery in 2008 in a bid to save her career. Maria joined the elite list of women’s tennis with this win as she completed her career slam.

Mahesh and Sania win the Mixed doubles crown
Mahesh Bhupati and Sania Mirza won the mixed doubles crown beating Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Santiago Gonzalez 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 in the finals. The pair won their second title together, with their previous win being in the 2009 Australian Open.

The Indian challenge in the French Open singles was kept alive by Sania Mirza who recorded an impressive win over Kristina Barrois in the first round. Sania who is ranked 72 in the world played a brilliant match against 57th ranked Kristina win the game in straight sets 6-3, 6-3. It was a great win for Sania and I hope that this inspires her to keep going in the tournament. Sania will be playing her doubles match later today where she is paired with Elena Vesnina from Russia and the pair is seeded 7th in the tournament.

Somdev though wasn’t that fortunate as he crashed out of French Open singles earlier today when he lost to world No 37 Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia. Somdev who is ranked 66 in the world found Ljubicic extremely tough to handle and lost in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3 and 6-4. The men’s doubles round are yet to begin where Leander and Mahesh will try to win their first Grand Slam after their reunion last year. I wish them best of luck and hopefully we will have couple of titles this year at the French Open.

Just few years back, India tennis was all about Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi. They held the hopes of an entire nation for a long time until Sania Mirza arrived on the scene. She was probably the first tennis icon for the current generation to look up to. Sania broke into the top 30 and gave us the hopes that probably this time we will see a Indian player in the top 10. In the last couple of years though her carrier has taken a nose dive and she is nowhere near her best anymore. Her ranking over this time has had a free fall from the top 30 to 166 where she is currently perched.

While Leander and Mahesh still battle on, we have new players on the scene giving some hope to the tennis fans in India. Somdev Devvarman is one of them. He became the first Indian player to win an individual gold in Tennis for India in Commonwealth games and also broke into top 100 this year. Then there is the young Yuki Bhambri who has just started to wet his foot in the professional world. While Somdev Devvarman takes over from Leander as India’s flag bearer in the Davis Cup, Yuki Bhambri has the making of being the first top tennis player from India.

Even though the singles scene is still uncertain with how the careers of both Somdev and Yuki will pan out, the doubles though has been healthier as ever. Leander and Mahesh have always been in the top 10 pairs in the world with their respective partners, the sudden raise of Rohan Bopanna should give the Indians additional hope. His partnership with Qureshi from Pakistan has grown leaps and bounds this year. They are in fact in contention for the Masters event later this year in which the top 8 doubles team participates every year. With Leander already qualified for the masters event, the battle will be between Bhupathi and Bopanna for the 7th and 8th spot. It will be wonderful if both of them can make it.

If that happens I guess this will be the first time when 3 Indian players will be participating in the year end Masters event. The rise of Bopanna and Qureshi has been amazing as the pair made giant strides in the last couple of years to reach the top 10 in the rankings. Amidst the animosity between the two countries, it’s great to see a Indo-Pak pair do so well as a team in world tennis. If only the others can learn something from this pair and understand that in spite of all the differences we can still work together for a peaceful existence.

So with just couple of months to go the battle is on. Bhupathi/Mirnyi pair has now climbed up to the 6th spot, strengthening their hopes of qualifying for the Masters. It will be up to Bopanna and Qureshi to raise their game to grab one of the final two spots. It has been a great year for Indian tennis and it seems like once Leander and Mahesh hang up their boots, Indian fans will still have something to look forward to in Tennis.

Somdev created history by becoming the first tennis player to win a gold for India in CWG 2010

Commonwealth games (CWG) just concluded in Delhi with a grand closing ceremony earlier last week and India had pulled it off after being in the news for all the bad reasons. All in all a great games for the Indian contingent as they finished second in the medals tally just edging England out.

The games was special for lots of athletes none more so than Somdev Devvarman who got the first gold medal for an Indian tennis player in CWG. Even though the top players from Australia and England did not make it to the CWG 2010, it was a fantastic effort from the Indian. Somdev had a great year where he led India to the world group with a brilliant win over Brazil and also broke into the top 100 in the ranking for the first time. Sania Mirza too brushed aside her lackluster year to come up with an inspired performance in the games.

Sania played very well throughout only to lose to the top seeded Australian Anastasia Rodionova in thrilling 3 set match in the finals to settle for the silver. Somdev though did not have such troubles as he coasted to a comfortable straight set victory over Greg Jones of Australia to claim the gold medal. It was a good CWG 2010 for the Indian tennis team as they won at least one medal in each of the disciplines. Sania also won the bronze in the women’s doubles playing with Rushmi Chakravarthy.

The biggest disappointment though was the performance of the Indian star doubles pair of Leander and Mahesh as they ended up with just the bronze medal. Lot was expected from this pair as it was touted as their last time playing together. Leander and Mahesh were the favorites to take the gold this year but it was not to be. They lost in the semis to Australia’s less fancied pair of Paul Hanley and Peter Luczak. The other shock was the loss of Leander Paes and Sania Mirza in the quarters which deprived India of another medal in tennis.

But overall this was a good return for India as they ended up with 4 medals in this year’s game and Somdev’s gold made is all the more special. Hopefully Somdev goes from strength to strength from here and has a great year ahead. It is sad to see that Leander and Mahesh will not be playing together anymore but for all these years they have kept the country’s hopes alive. I hope that they continue to play for team India in Davis Cup.

It was a fantastic day for Indian tennis fans as two Indians advanced to the second round of a Grand Slam. Somdev and Sania both reached the second round in singles at the Flushing Meadows yesterday.

Somdev beat Frederico Gil of portugal 6-3,6-4,6-3 to advance to the second round of Men’s singles. Sania Mirza though struggled but held pn to beat Olga Govortsova 6-2,3-6,6-3 to advance to the second round of the US open.

I guess this is the first time we have seen two Indians reach the second round of a major Grand Slam tournament in singles. Congrats to both of them and I hope that they carry on and win more games.

Leander and Mahesh a partnership which captured the imagination of Indian tennis lovers

Leander and Mahesh a partnership which captured the imagination of Indian tennis lovers

For more than a decade, Leander and Mahesh have carried the Indian hopes on their shoulder and have delivered time and again. How long can they go on? When will we see the next generation kick in? We have seen that the Indian young players have never been up to the challenge yet. Players like Bopanna, Prakash Amritraj, Harsh Mankad and quite a lot of young tennis players came on the scene and have disappeared.

Yeah they do play in the doubles scene in the Grand Slams once in a while but have never done anything of note. Sania Mirza too, India’s major hope for a top 10 player has been so inconsistent and injury prone. The dream of her reaching the top 10 seems far and distant. Tennis is a very expensive game and it’s not easy in India to take it up as a career.

It was about 8 years back when I saw an interview of Leander in Harsha Online in the ESPN where he spoke about the hardships he and Mahesh had to go through to come to this level. Eight years after they are the ones still carrying Indian dreams in the Grand slams. Recently the Indian tennis scene received an incredible boost with Yuki Bhambri who won the Australian open juniors and Somdev Devvarman who reached the business end of the Chennai open.

We will have to wait and see if these two take over the mantle from these two legends but the chances are bright. I had huge hopes for Prakash Amritraj as he was coached in the US and his father was the last Indian player to consistently challenge the top players during his time, but he has been disappointing.

India needs a top tennis player, need an idol to follow after Leander and Mahesh decide to call it a day. I just hope that these youngsters step up to the plate and deliver. Indian tennis scene has never looked so promising and I hope that these youngsters convert their good starts into something meaningful.

Till that happens the hope of an Indian tennis lover will continue to rest on Leander and Mahesh. It’s been an amazing 12-13 years since Mahesh became the first Indian to win a grand slam. They have more than 20 Grand Slam titles in doubles between them and it would have been fantastic if they had continued to play together. I salute the two legends of Indian tennis and their contribution towards the sport in India has been magnificent. Hope we find another Leander and Mahesh soon to carry on the mantle once they hang up their boots.

I have had a frustrating last few months which came to an end yesterday with the visa approval. For all of us here the extension process has been a real long and frustrating journey which controlled our thoughts for all these months. I have decided to put in a summary of the happenings in the last few months about which I was planning to write about.
Indian cricket team’s successful 2008 and the NewZealand tour
I would like to begin with the exceptional season the Indian cricket team has been having since they won the Perth test match last Jan. The only blip being the test series in Srilanka. The Indian team under Dhoni has performed really well and are in top 3 in both forms of the game. The recent series in SL where Dhoni’s men won 4-1 further emphasized their raise in the shorter format of the game. The Indian team has found great bunch of youngsters who are hungry for success and want to win every game. Having said all that Dhoni’s great test is just around the corner, the tour of NZ. This will be his first full tour as a captain of the Indian team. India would be looking to win the test and the one-day series against the Kiwis which will not be an easy task.
The Kiwis have had a good series against the Australians recently where they drew the one-dayers 2-2 and lost the one-off Twenty20 by one run. They will be full of confidence and would be hoping to drive their home advantage to trouble the Indian team. The Indians on the other hand would want to erase the memory of their disastrous 2002/03 tour to the Kiwiland by turning in good performances in the both forms of the game. If India play to their potential they should win the series. The series gets underway with the first of the 2 Twenty20 games next wednesday. Lets hope that the series is competetive and may the best team win.
Slumdog Millionaire and A R Rahman
Musical genius A R Rahman made every Indian proud when he received the Golden Globe award for the best original score for his song “Jai Ho” in Danny Boyle’s award winning movie Slumdog Millionaire. There has been lots of speculation in the Indian media reagrding the movie as well as A R Rahman’s music claiming that both are over-rated. Few people in the media have slammed the movie and some also said that it has shown India in a poor light. As far as I am concerned the movie was just okay and was nothing great but thats my opinion. To be frank its a movie made by a British director in India and if Hollywood calls it as the best movie of the year then so be it. I dont think that this movie showed anything wrong about India.
At least the movie was made in India. How many bollywood directors make movies in the slums of Mumbai? How many Indian directors who commented on this movie can make a movie which will prove otherwise? Actually no one cares. Its just that this movie has become so big that people have decided to cash in on its popularity. The Johars and the chopras have stopped making movies in India and few more directors probably will follow suit. I guess we have to treat SM as a hollywood movie which has been made in India with Indian actors, thats about it. We have made so many substandard movies in US and UK, they dont claim those as theirs and slam it in the their media when we give awards to those movies. So lets just be realistic, Hollywood thinks its the best movie of the year so thats where it ends.As far as the award to ARR is concerned I am really proud of him and his achievements. He has put Indian music on the world map.
Whether this is his best composition is open to speculation but there is no denying the fact that he deserves all the accolades he is receiving right now. Lets not unnecessarily dissect the music and enjoy the success of one of the finest composers in India. Congrats to ARR on his Golden Globe and hope he wins Oscars too.
Tennis in India
Tennis in India received a tremendous boost when Yuki Bhambri won the junior Australian Open title earlier this year. His victory along with the performance of Somdev in the Chennai open gives great hope to the Tennis scene in India. Mahesh won yet another mixed doubles championship, this time with our own Sania Mirza to make this the most memorable Australian Open for the Indians. Sania though continued her horror run in singles when she was beaten in the second round. Hopefully Somedev and Yuki can take the Indian Tennis forward and make a successful transition to the senior level.
Thats all for now from me. Lets hope that India continues to shine in 2009 and we have more awards and titles to add.
The Indian team with the trophy in SL

The Indian team with the trophy in SL

AR Rahman with the Golden Globe

AR Rahman with the Golden Globe

I have had a frustrating last few months which came to an end yesterday with the visa approval. For all of us here the extension process has been a real long and frustrating journey which controlled our thoughts for all these months. I have decided to put in a summary of the happenings in the last few months about which I was planning to write about.

Indian cricket team’s successful 2008 and the NewZealand tour

I would like to begin with the exceptional season the Indian cricket team has been having since they won the Perth test match last Jan. The only blip being the test series in Srilanka. The Indian team under Dhoni has performed really well and are in top 3 in both forms of the game. The recent series in SL where Dhoni’s men won 4-1 further emphasized their raise in the shorter format of the game. The Indian team has found great bunch of youngsters who are hungry for success and want to win every game. Having said all that Dhoni’s great test is just around the corner, the tour of  NZ. This will be his first full tour as a captain of the Indian team. India would be looking to win the test and the one-day series against the Kiwis which will not be an easy task.

The Kiwis have had a good series against the Australians recently where they drew the one-dayers 2-2 and lost the one-off Twenty20 by one run. They will be full of confidence and would be hoping to drive their home advantage to trouble the Indian team. The Indians on the other hand would want to erase the memory of their disastrous 2002/03 tour to the Kiwiland by turning in good performances in the both forms of the game. If India play to their potential they should win the series. The series gets underway with the first of the 2 Twenty20 games next wednesday. Lets hope that the series is competetive and may the best team win.

Slumdog Millionaire and A R Rahman

Musical genius A R Rahman made every Indian proud when he received the Golden Globe award for the best original score for his song “Jai Ho” in Danny Boyle’s award winning movie Slumdog Millionaire. There has been lots of speculation in the Indian media reagrding the movie as well as A R Rahman’s music claiming that both are over-rated. Few people in the media have slammed the movie and some also said that it has shown India in a poor light. As far as I am concerned the movie was just okay and was nothing great but thats my opinion. To be frank its a movie made by a British director in India and if Hollywood calls it as the best movie of the year then so be it. I dont think that this movie showed anything wrong about India.

At least the movie was made in India. How many bollywood directors make movies in the slums of Mumbai? How many Indian directors who commented on this movie can make a movie which will prove otherwise? Actually no one cares. Its just that this movie has become so big that people have decided to cash in on its popularity. The Johars and the chopras have stopped making movies in India and few more directors probably will follow suit. I guess we have to treat SM as a hollywood movie which has been made in India with Indian actors, thats about it.  We have made so many substandard movies in US and UK, they dont claim those as theirs and slam it in the their media when we give awards to those movies. So lets just be realistic, Hollywood thinks its the best movie of the year so thats where it ends.As far as the award to ARR is concerned I am really proud of him and his achievements. He has put Indian music on the world map.

Whether this is his best composition is open to speculation but there is no denying the fact that he deserves all the accolades he is receiving right now. Lets not unnecessarily dissect the music and enjoy the success of one of the finest composers in India. Congrats to ARR on his Golden Globe and hope he wins Oscars too.

Tennis in India

Tennis in India received a tremendous boost when Yuki Bhambri won the junior Australian Open title earlier this year. His victory along with the performance of Somdev in the Chennai open gives great hope to the Tennis scene in India. Mahesh won yet another mixed doubles championship, this time with our own Sania Mirza to make this the most memorable Australian Open for the Indians. Sania though continued her horror run in singles when she was beaten in the second round. Hopefully Somedev and Yuki can take the Indian Tennis forward and make a successful transition to the senior level.

Thats all for now from me. Lets hope that India continues to shine in 2009 and we have more awards and titles to add.


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