“After a certain distance, you run with your mind, not with your legs.”
If there were any doubts that Somdev Devvarman is the rightful inheritor to Leander Paes’ mantle in the Davis Cup , they were put to rest by his stellar display at Novi Sad against defending champions Serbia.
Novak Djokovic—the World No.3 and architect of the successful Serbian title run last year—opted out of the first round tie. India were hit hard by Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi’s withdrawals due to injuries. The doubles point was considered to be in the bag with the duo around.
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The questions were:
Are Rafael Nadal‘s injuries behind him?
What about Roger?
Who are the other challengers on the men’s side?
Is this the year of the Woz?
Is the women’s ranking system legitimate?
The answers to four of the questions are still up in the air.
Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open victory has given doubters more than a hint as to who’s not hanging to the coat-tails of the big guns—Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Using the article as inspiration, I arrived at five burning questions for Indian tennis:
Post-match press conferences are boring.
I mean, come on, who wants to talk about the match? It’s just another day at the office. Get wise, guys, we’re pros. It’s our job.
You don’t believe me? Ask Caroline Wozniacki.
The Great Dane felt that the best way to entertain her fans and journalists was to tell a little fib about wrestling a kangaroo.
The kangaroo gave the pretty No. 1 a small cut. Or that’s how the story went.
Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes have done it again.
The Indian Express triumphed at the 2011 Aircel Chennai Open subduing the Dutch-American pair of Robin Hasse and David Martin 6-2, 6-7 (3), 10-7.
The Chennai tourney has Indian champions once more. This is the first time since 2002 that an Indian pair have inscribed their names on the trophy. It was the duo of Bhupathi and Paes who claimed it then as well.
Somdev Devvarman came close in 2009, losing to Marin Cilic in the final.
It was fitting that the duo came together in the sweltering environs of the South Indian city that boasts the best-known tennis families in India—the Krishnans and the Amritrajs, to clinch their first title this year.
Sceptics felt that the two would find it difficult to reprise their form of the late 90s and early oo’s, given their aging bodies and slower reflexes.
The WTA Tour may have shut down shop for the year. But the International Tennis Federation show rolls on. And doesn’t Sania Mirza know it.
The 24-year-old won the $75,000 Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge knocking over Serbian Bojana Jovanovski in the final 4-6, 6-3, 6-0.
The little known Serb is her nation’s No. 3. Her favourite book: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.
Somdev Devvarman continues to delight his many fans. His expressed desire to coach budding ,upcoming players from his home state has the Tripura government agog.
"As he belongs to Tripura, he would be very happy if he gets the scope to teach budding and young players from the northeastern states, where there is no dearth of talented and skilled players," Somdev’s father Pravanjan Kishore Devvarman said.
Somdev will be given a hero’s welcome when he returns home on December 26. He is currently in Texas training with Andy Roddick.
16 Grand Slams to his name and still counting, Roger Federer, the Swiss champion, is master of all he surveys. One French Open, six Wimbledons, five US Opens and four Australian Opens (66 ATP titles); you could hardly call his trophy cupboard bare. His rivalry with Nadal is the stuff of legend and an enduring story for the ages. His challenger needs just one more Slam to move into double digits and Borg territory.
Somdev Devvarman carries the hopes of a billion on his lean, sinewy frame. Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi are aging warriors. They will soon be gone.
But Somdev is undaunted at the prospect of stepping into the boots of these stalwarts. He has etched his mark in the Davis Cup. The Guangzhou Asian Games saw him pick up a rich haul of three medals, two gold in singles and men’s doubles and a bronze in the team event. His singles gold at the CWG pales in comparison. The clinical manner in which the Indian demolished Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin 6-1, 6-2 augurs well for India’s Davis Cup aspirations.
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Sania Mirza continues to delight her Indian fans. She followed up her CommonWealth Games individual silver with an Asiad bronze at Guangzhou. Mirza may be struggling with her ranking on the WTA tour but is enjoying her time in the sun post her recent marriage to Shoaib Malik and a renaissance representing India. Sania and her partner Vishnu Vardhan tamed Tamarine Tanasugarn and Sanchai Ratiwatana 6-3, 6-7 (7-3), 10-5 in the mixed doubles semis to assure the Hyderabadi of another silver—at least.