Tag Archives: Somdev Devvarman

Olympics Tennis Fiasco – Who is at fault?

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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Olympics Tennis Fiasco – Who is at fault?

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.

Chennai’s young sports personalities

Sports in India have always been synonymous with Cricket. Even though we have had famous personalities in other sports, they hardly get the kind of recognition and press as the cricket personalities do. I have decided to dig some names and personalities who are the future of Indian sports which includes non-cricketing superstars. This article only covers the sports personalities from my home town as Chennai/Tamil Nadu has always been a place which has produced variety of sports personalities. I am just naming few of the current stars.

Dipika Pallikal

She is born in Chennai and this 20 year old is a squash champion. She is the highest ranked squash player from India and is currently at 14th in the world. She has three WISPA (Women’s International Squash Players Association) titles and was the first Indian player to make the Quarter finals of world squash open. She also became the youngest Indian player to reach the summit clash of a silver event when she made it to the finals of “Tournament of Champions” Squash event in New York.

Dipika is a very talented squash player and has achieved a lot at a young age. Again Squash is a very low profile sport in India and she does not get too much of press as she should. Congrats to Dipika on a great 2011 where she climbed from 29th in the world to 14th at the end of it, hopefully she will have a better 2012.

Sarath Kumar

Nope he is not the Tamil actor. He is India’s first MotoGP racer in the 125 cc category. He is another racer from Chennai keeping the legacy of the city known for producing 2 formula 1 racers. The 20 year old Indian is the fastest rider in Indian class and was the first to break the 2 minute barrier on an Indian bake at the circuit. Another talented Indian sports personality who only got decent press due to him being the first Indian to ride in Moto GP. I hope he has a great 2012 and does well in the chances he gets.

Sharath kamal

He is yet another Indian sports personality who hardly gets enough press but is famous enough. Probably he is known the most around India among the names I have already mentioned. He is India’s number one table tennis player and has remained at the top for 4 years now. He won the gold at commonwealth games in 2006 and also has the distinction of being the first Indian to win an ITTF Pro title when he won at the Egypt open. He also captained the Indian team which defeated the English team who were the favorites and 9 time champions at the Egypt open in the same year.

Ilavazhagi

This is one person I found hardly any news about apart from a Chennai tabloid blog. The 2008 women’s world carom champion fought poverty to reach the pinnacle in the sport. She won the title in 2008 in France. The nation which was caught in the euphoria of the IPL completely missed the return of the triumphant Ilavazhagi’s return. The two time SAARC champion finally got the recognition when the State Government announced cash prize of 10 lakhs after her interviews in the media.

People who fight adversity and achieve great things need support of the media and the government. Champions like Ilavazhagi can actually inspire young people to achieve something and also teach them to fight to reach their goals. Kudos to her for the title and hope she goes on to do India proud at the world level once again.

Armaan Ebrahim

Yet another racer from Chennai following in the footsteps of Narain Karthikeyan, Karun Chandhok and Parthiva Sureshwaran, Armaan is the son of legendary Akbar Ebrahim who is the former British F3 champion. Armaan is a talented racer who competed in the Formula 2 championship in the years 2010 and 2011. He will be racing in the Firestone Indy lights in 2012. He has a great future and has very good reputation on circuit. Hope he has a great 2012 and wins quite a lot of races in the Indy lights. Another sports person who hardly finds any press

Tennis Scene in Chennai

Tennis and Chennai have always been hand in hand. The great father son duo of Ramanathan Krishnan and Ramesh Krishnan were from Chennai and so were the Amritraj brothers. Ramanathan Krishnan was probably the highest seeded Indian in Wimbledon when he was #4 in the 1962 championship. He has had multiple appearances in the Grand Slam Semi-Finals. His son Ramesh Krishnan also was a famous tennis icon in the 80’s. Following in the father’s footsteps, Ramesh also won the junior Wimbledon title in the late 70’s. Ramesh reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon once and US Open twice in his career. Ramesh reached his highest singles ranking of 23 in the year 1985.

Following in the tennis legacy of Chennai was Vijay Amritraj. Yet another great player from the Chennai shores. Amritraj was the highest ranked Singles player from India in the open era. His highest ranking was 16th in the world. Amritraj also reached the quarter-finals of US Open and Wimbledon and also had an impressive 384-296 W/L record in singles.

The greatness of the tennis scene did not stop with the Krishnan’s and the Amritraj brothers. It is to be noted that Leander Paes and current Indian number 1 Somdev Devvarman learned their trade in Chennai. Leander is the aluminous of the famous Loyola College in Chennai and did his schooling in the famous Madras Christian College. Chennai boasts of the famous Numgambakkam tennis stadium where the prestigious Chennai Open takes place every year. The Krishnan tennis center and the Britannia Amritraj tennis academy train lots of young players in India.

Chennai is also the home for the famous MRF pace foundation which has given the Indian cricket team lots of famous pace bowlers under the tutelage of legendary Dennis Lillie.

Chennai has always had a multi-faceted sporting culture. We have legends from tennis, Chess, Carom, table tennis and off course cricket. Chess champion and world number 1 Viswanathan Anand comes from Chennai and so do lots of Grand Masters following in his footsteps. This article is just the tip of the ice berg, there are number of other young achievers I might have missed. There are for sure lots of other sports achievers throughout the country who are not that well known through India. I just did this for Chennai and I already feel exhausted and I have not even included every young achiever in the city. Just imagine how many would be there throughout the country. Please add to the list if you know of such sports personalities. These stars require as much recognition and press as a cricketer does.

Sania marches on as Somdev falls in the first round of French 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.

Somdev in the big league

Somdev jumped to career high 73 in the ATP rankings after a brilliant show in Indian Wells last week where he advanced to the 4th round and lost to world number 1 Rafael Nadal. Even though Somdev lost the game in straight sets, he did put up a great fight against the Spaniard. The Indian defeated some big names on his way to the fourth round and had a brilliant tournament.

It has to be noted that Somdev entered the tournament as a qualifier which makes his effort all the more spectacular. He defeated Marcos Baghdatis, who is ranked 22 in the world also Xavier Malisse who is ranked at 45 in the world. It was a wonderful performance from the Indian and I hope that he breaks into top 50 this year. This will mean that he will get an automatic entry into the Grand Slams this year, unless he slips really badly in the rankings. This has been a brilliant beginning to the year by Somdev and I hope that his performance in the Indian wells is merely a beginning. I hope that he scales many more peaks in the years to come. India badly needs a tennis superstar and Somdev is well on his way to becoming that.

Tennis – A perfect reunion and brilliant Roger

Leander and Mahesh won their 24th tour title and their 5th at Chennai this weekend

Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi won the Chennai open for the fifth time as it marked a perfect reunion for the two great Indians. The pair prevailed over the young pair of Robin Haase and David Martin in a tense 3 setter. This was their 24th title together and something which all the Indian tennis fans have been waiting for. The Chennai open started disastrously for the Indian contingent as Somdev, Bopanna and Yuki all wild card entrants had lost in the first round in the singles. But the doubles title was really a sweet end to the tournament for the Chennai crowd.

The great news is that Leander and Mahesh or Lee-Hesh as they are lovingly called by their fans have decided to play in the Australian open together in an attempt to win their 4th Grand Slam title together. It was yet another special win for the Indian pair and I hope they get few more before the end of the year. Congrats to Leander and Mahesh for an excellent victory.

Elsewhere it was business as usual for the Champion Roger Federer as he defeated Nikolay Davydenko in straight sets to capture his 67th tour title at Doha this weekend. This was an ideal preparation for the champion for his defense of the Australian open later this month. Roger finished 2010 in style when he defeated Nadal in the London Masters final and has began the year 2011 brilliantly by capturing the Doha title. Robin Soderling was another winner this weekend at Brisbane, Australia as he defeated American Andy Roddick to claim his 7th tour title. This is a brilliant beginning for the Swede who ended the year 2010 at number 5 in the rankings. The win has enabled him to reach his career high ranking of No.4 again. He will try to put up a great show in the upcoming Australian open where he was ousted in the first round last year.

India’s golden man

Somdev acknowledges the crowd after becoming the first Indian to win a gold in Asian Games in Singles

Somdev Devvarman became the first Indian to win a gold in Tennis in the Asian Games singles event. He also became the first Indian to win two gold medals in Asian games history. Just a month ago he had won Gold in the Commonwealth games, also becoming the first Indian to do so. This has been a brilliant year for Somdev as he broke into the top 100 for the first time in his career and also has won 2 gold medals in two major events representing India.

He had also led India to the world group in Davis cup earlier this year. History beckoned Somdev when he stepped on the court in the finals against Uzbekistan’s Dennis Istomin who is ranked 44 in the world and the Indian ace did not disappoint. It was a lopsided final as the Indian won it comfortably with a score line of 6-1, 6-2. The win gave Somdev his second gold in the Asian games to go with 1 bronze which he had won earlier in the team event.

Speaking to the media after his historic win an ecstatic Somdev said, “I am very, very happy to get the gold here. It’s a dream come true. No one comes to an Asian Games with the intention of winning two gold medals. Representing the country gives me the greatest pleasure,”

A brilliant year for a fantastic player and I hope that he can repeat the same success in the world events in the coming year. With this brilliant performance Somdev has for sure become India’s “Golden Man”.