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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the week ending on Jan 10, 2005
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2005)

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Jan 10 Notes

Sorry to disappear once again -- too much of travel lately .. The weekend did not go perfectly for LP and MB, with LP-Zimo falling in the SF and MB-JB falling in the final of doubles at Chennai, both of them falling to the same surprising singles-pair, Yen-Hsun Lu and Rainer Schuettler in close three-setters .. Moya won the singles title, once again beating Srichaphan in a repeat final from last year, once again in a tough three-setter ..

Sania fell to Cara Black, a former top-50 player, in the Q2 at the Tier-5 WTA in Hobart, Australia .. Up nest is the Australian Open for Shikha and Sania ..

The Mumbai futures starts today .. Later, with news.

Jan 8 Notes

At Chennai, LP and Zimonjic play doubles semifinal today against Yen-Hsun Lu and Rainer Schuettler after the Moya and Srichaphan SF matches.

Meanwhile, more good news from Sania Mirza .. #169 SM demolished Paula Garcia (ESP,160), 61 64 in the qualifying first round at the Tier-5 $110K "Moorilla International" in Hobart, Australia .. Another "wow' match from our favorite girl .. Sania is supposed to play the 6th seed Cara Black (ZIM,138) also today itself in trhe Q2 .. Sunitha Rao (USA) who won a big Q1 against Shikha yesterday, was completely out of it today, as she went down 60 61 to the 5th seed Jennifer Hopkins (USA,137) ..

In other news, Sumit Prakash Gupta, who was  the top seed at the grade-4 ITF juniors in Bangladesh, finished runner-up there .. He lost to a seeming talented 14 year old, Kittipong Wachiramanowong (THA) in the final there .. Sushanth Nambiar of India was the 6th seed but was upset in the first rouond .. On the girls's side, the second seed GK Shweta lost in the semifinal to the eventual winner Elena Tcherniakova (RUS), and the top seeded Sandri Gangothri fell in the QF to the 6th seed .. There is a grade-3 event in this coming week in Bangladesh - probably a few more Indians may join for that.

Jan 7 Note-3

The Chennai Open organizers must be thrilled at the way things have gone, so far, with all the fan favorites still alive going into the weekend .. Mahesh and Bjorkman just won the doubles semifinal, beating Kevin Kim and Jiri Vanek, 62 63 to reach the final .. Earlier, Moya advanced to the semi beating Mathieu and Srichaphan advanced beating Vliegen .. It will be Moya vs Garcia-Lopez and Srichaphan vs Zib in the two semis tomorrow, followed by Leander-Zimonjic playing their doubles semifinal .. So, a nice weekend of action remains ..
See the Chennai Open page for all the scores ..

Jan 7 Note-2

Some terrific news to report - and this came "straight out of the left field", so to say .. Somedev Dev Varman has earned a wildcard to the $700K Memphis ATP qualifiers, in the same week as the Rotterdam ATP qualies, where Karan earned a wildcard .. A few days back Somdev played a wildcard tournament in Memphis, and won the tournament to get the wildcard .. It is a championship series event (or International Series Gold, as they call it now), the same level as the Rotterdam ATP ..  As at Rotterdam, the Memphis qualies have an early entry list (i.e., it is not of the "sign-in" type) and the two-round 16-player field normally closes at around the #250 rank ..
I just got an email from Buji on this, but have not got the details of the matches he played at that Memphis tournament ..This is a fantastic achievement by Buji, who continues to show that he is a great promise for the future too .. Isn't this wonderful?? .. What are the odds for our best two teenage youngsters, Karan and Somdev, to EARN wildcards into such prestigious events abroad in the same week?? .. Go Buji ..

Leander has more work to do now .. He has to follow Karan, Somdev, Harsh, Prakash and everybody very closely from now on .. Davis Cup comes along soon .. Buji, as you might remember, had shown his quality with that incredible futures win on clay in Kolkata last year, but had gone to college and been flying "under the radar" lately .. Don't forget this guy! ..

I can't wait for the Feb 12th weekend, to see what Karan and Somdev can do in Netherlands and US against top-200 quality players in those qualies .. The future is so bright, I have to wear shades (sorry Timbuk3! :)) ..

Jan 7 Note-1

Paradorn won easily in straight sets, 63 64 against Kristoff Vliegen at the Chennai Open this evening ..  So the crowd favorite is still there ... Mahesh and Jonas play their doubles semi at night on the center court against Kevin Kim and Jiri Vanek, after Moya's singles match against Mathieu ..

Indian girls are all at the $110K WTA Tier-V "Moorilla International" at Hobart, Australia .. Unfortunate draw for two players I like .. #193 Sunitha Rao (USA) against #159 Shikha Uberoi (USA/IND) .. Well, Sunitha got the better of Shikha in a close one - 75 76 today .. Frankly, I still wish we could somehow have Sunitha also play for India -- but well, I guess we can't have everything we want! .. #169 Sania Mirza is drawn against #160 Paula Garcia (ESP) but I believe the match is postponed to saturday due to rain .. Neha also is at Hobart but could not make the qualifying draw .. Very tough entry there, even though it is just the lowest grade WTA event, because all the players are in Australia for the Australian Open qualies that start next week.

Jan 6 Notes

LP and Zimonjic again won in straight sets, and are also in the semifinal at the Chennai Open .. 62  76(6) win over Bachelot and Carraz .. They would be facing Yen-Hsun Lu and rainer Schuettler in the semifinal .. The LP semi will be on Saturday, but the MB semifinal will be on schedule for tomorrow ..

Only the top two seeds (Moya and Paradorn) are alive amomg seeds in the singles QFs and only the top two seeds, MB-JB and LP-NZ are alive in the singles QF there ..

The entry list for the $15K futures in Mumbai is posted in the forum thread on that event .. Due to Christmas, ITF had the entry deadline a week earlier than normal, and so some of the Indian players probably forgot to enter by the deadline .. Anyway, Prakash has apparently taken a wildcard to the Mumbai event .. Good to see him play there .. Harsh, Sunil, etc are all there in what appears to be a pretty strong field .. There is an even tougher field for the second futures in Delhi in the following week - check out this thread ..

Jan 5 Notes

MB and Bjorkman had some starting trouble, which was somewhat expected because one of them has to change their customary side (AD court) for doubles - I think Bjorkman moved over to the right - but they came back strongly and finished off the match against Tabara and Ventura to advance to the semifinal .. In the semifinal on friday, they will play Kenneth Carlsen and Jan-Michael Gambill, a potentially difficult team (who had upset the tough 3rd seeds Erlich-Ram in the R1) .. LP and Zimo had advanced to the QF on Monday, and will play their QF tomorrow (thursday) against Bachelot and Carraz, who somehow stayed alive and got past the Amritraj cousins who played a very good doubles match but went down in three sets, 26 75 46 .. Actually, Stephen and Prakash were up a break in the third, but their lack of experience at this level showef after that .. Still, a very impressive outing for the cousins to have come back that well in the match .. Bjorkman went down to Gimelstob today, but the Chennai tournament is fine so far, as long as Moya and Srichaphan stay alive .. See the Chennai Open page for all the scores.

Lots of nice articles in the Indian newspapers .. One that caught my eye is the full transcript of Leander's interview with the press in The Telegraph .. He too was mentioning the depth issue that I wrote about yesterday, but actually what he calls a lack of depoth is really not a depth issue .. In my view he is using the wrong term -- "depth" is not what he is worried about, but our inability to produce a top-100 type player to keep our Davis Cup chances alive - and he is right about that .. I was also glad to see him being refreshingly candid about being surprised by Harsh Mankad .. LP has seen only very little of Harsh Mankad over the last year or so, as their paths rarely crossed (except for a couple of hours of practice at the Japan Davis Cup tie), and seems to have been rather unaware of some of the strides Mankad made in his game since last summer or so .. Leander was also frank in admitting that "every time people write off Harsh, he comes roaring back and does something fabulous like this" .. He is probably also aware that HM wasn't happy about being left off the Davis Cup team in Japan .. Again LP was candid, probably in a lighter tone -- "if this is how he reacts, well, it is probably good to put some pressure on him!" .. :-) .. Leander sounded happy that there are some more options at the upcoming Davis Cup, thanks to Harsh's good form .. Cool!

In other news, there were a couple of articles on Niru getting into the thick of things on the girls' side .. Micky Aigner of the Indian Express started off the topic with this article - India's best to coach India's brightest? - Shikha looks to Nirupama .. Nice comments from Niru and Mahesh about the bright future involving Shikha, Sania etc .. Amitava Das Gupta of The Telegraph also had an article with some comments from Niru, who is in Chennai for TV work at the tournament ..

Jan 4 Note-2

Looks like Mankad played a very good match, though it ended in a loss .. Here is the NDTV writeup - Qualifier Mankad displayed scintillating tennis to come back from a set down to take the match to the decider .... Mankad finally went down 6-4 4-6 6-4 in the marathon two-hour encounter .... Mankad, who became only the second Indian qualifier to enter the main draw since Sandeep Kirtane in 1996, showed a positive approach throughout the match .... Down by a set and trailing 1-2 in the second, the 25-year -old Indian staged a memorable fightback to take the match to the decider. After taking a 3-1 lead, Mankad showed urgency but erred to lose crucial points .. Good stuff .. Wish he could have stayed mistake-free at the end and finished off the job like he did in the last two matches .. Harsh had said yesterday that his focus is on staying consistent with his play throughout a 2 or 3 hour match, so he knows what he needs to do, but it was tougher to do today against a solid top-100 player in Kevin Kim ..

By my unofficial count/stats, since the last summer Harsh has gone 6 and 7 against top-225 caliber competition on the tour .. He has gone 14-16 in sets and 156-152 in games in those matches .. Pretty safe to make the conclusion that Harsh has played top-225 tennis in the last few months and has taken a next step from the top-350 levels .. I think, after the physical training stint over the last couple of months and some nice coaching by Happy Bhalla, he has possibly made even more improvements in his game now, which showed in Chennai this week .. He may well be playing top-175 tennis now, and if all goes well, that is where I expect him to be pretty soon, like in the next few months.  Hopefulyl he will pick up some points soon .. Despite some big wins in the last few months, he has missed some weeks due to training and visa problems, and basically did not put in any positive points into his points total in about 5 months or so, which is the reason why his rank is a bit down now .. I expect him back near top-275 as early as by the end of this month after the two Indian futures .. Then watch out ..

By the way, I am getting increasingly irritated by all the talk from many quarters about the lack of depth in Indian tennis and all that .. Frankly, going back to at least 15 to 25 years or more, I don't think we have had as many promising players as we have now, at any time -- Harsh, Prakash, Rohan, Karan, Somdev, Sunil Kumar etc are not sliced cheese and they all have several years ahead of them .. Yes, I am including the "forgotten" Harsh also among the "still promising" category - though he just turned 25, he has only played about 2-3 years of serious pro tennis, has not shown he was regressing or hitting a plateau anytime, and has at least 3-4 years ahead of him, as far as the "wear on the body" is concerned .. The others in that group have at least 4 to 8 years to look ahead to .. No need to feel down about "depth" .. It is not like we were ever a tennis depth factory .. Even in the days of Vijay/Anand, then Ramesh and then the early years of Leander/Mahesh, we did not have a big second string who could win Davis Cup ties and be contendors in ATP events .. On the other hand, one can even say that we have never had as big a pool of gritty/talented and focussed full-time players like we have now (Vijay Kannan, Vinod Sridhar, Ajay Ramaswamy, Vishal Punna, Mustafa Ghouse etc all included) who could provide some top-notch domestic competition to help toughen the next string of young players .. True, we need one or two top-150 type players soon, to remain competitive in Davis Cup, and we need a top-25 type doubles team too .. Rather than talk about lack of depth and all that, we should be concentrating on putting some trust on at least the above few players (HM, PA, RB, KR, SKD, SKS, etc) and do whatever we can to get them enough sponsorship and coaching support .. True that nobody among them is a proven top-100 player soon, but without coaching/sponsorship, we can be sure that none will get there .. Add in the younger ones like ArunPrakash, Rupesh Roy, Jeevan, etc, also in the mix .. The "doomsday" talk does not help anybody  .. We have to get down to find sponsorship for these players and need to put a system in place to get them proper advice ..  

Most importantly, we need to stop writing people off at the drop of a hat .. For instance, I just saw a newspaper article that mentioned some people saying in Chennai that Prakash "just has his father's last name; he is all hype" -- Come on, it is disgusting that people talk like that .. I remember hearing people writing off Harsh 6 years back when he was just 18 that "he was too soft" (well, who is having the last laugh?) .. Come on, this attitude of overeagerness to be judgmental, is a curse of Indian sports .. We have no right to be judgemental like that, because we have not done enough work on our part to be judgmental - neither do we Indians have the right to feel that we are a country that somehow "deserved to" have a top-100 player fall out from the sky every decade or so .. Talk and expectations without planning and action gets us nowhere.

Then there is the doubles matter .. We do need a good doubles pair soon .. Something needs to be done about that but I don't see anything happening .. Again, Harsh gives us a measuring rod on what the problems are .. He was the first to crack top-200 in doubles since LP and MB, but the guy has never even once had a chance to play with a top-150 player in doubles .. Heck, he and Karan would have been a good team for a wildcard at Chennai this time, but that didn't happen .. If we give up on our players and do not try to see where they can get, how are we going to produce top players or top teams? .. Karan and Somdev could be a good pair worth giving a few chances together .. Harsh and Rohan .. Harsh and Sunil Kumar .. Prakash and Sunil .. Somdev and Harsh ... These type of combinations could turn out to be terrific if properly advised and groomed .. Of course, the players need to get along too (another big curse in Indian sports - but that is too complicated to get into) .. We only need to look at how China picked two girls, basically even forced them together for three years in a row with continuous support, win or loss, and willed them all the way to an Olympics medal .. And China did not have two top-10 doubles players to advice those two either .. I can suggest some work for AITA, or even my friends LP and MB driectly -- get down to business and get ready to prepare the next big doubles team .. Start by a tryout period of at least 5-6 events for 3 or 4 different pairings - help them schedule their events, and get them some little travel sponsorship or something .. Then at the end of a few months, make some objective conclusions .. I know Hesh and Lee are always busy but they can do this, and I would guess they are willing to do it too -- they just need to get their heads togther to get it done .. It is important to prepare a good doubles team for 2 or 3 years down the line .. It is of course important to find all the support (and more importantly, no negative vibes!) to at least about 5-6 players for one or two of them to get up to top-150 or top-100 singles levels as well.  let us stop talking and get down to work.

OK, enough of sermonizing  - Back to chennai Open .. LP plays doubles soon..

Jan 4 Note-2

All I know about the score at Chennai is that Harsh is in the 3rd set against Kevin Kim, 46 64 00, based on phone calls to the tournament media room .. The Chennai Open website once again has managed to pick up the title as the worst website on tour right here in the first week of the tour itself (shameful!) .. If anybody from India has news, please come to our chatroom .. Hope Harsh pulls his 3rd comeback win in a row.

Jan 4 Note-1

Today's schedule at Chennai shows Mankad playing the 8th seed Kevin Kim at 4 pm on court 1 and then the center court action starting at 5 pom with Karan Rastogi playing against the 4th seed Bjorkman ..

If HM can somehow pull another upset, it would be his second top-100 win .. Incidentally his previous top-100 win was a few months back in the qualifying rounds at the Long Island ATP where he pulled an easy 63 62 upset Olivier Patience, who was the one pulling the big uipset of the 3rd seed Schuettler in a 62 62 match yesterday at Chennai.  Harsh, if gets goiung with his A game immediately in the match, has the ability to pull another top-100 upset, but Kevin Kim is a very solid player who would not grant him any easy opportunities .. Harsh probably knows Kevin's game quite well - I do know that they have hit against each other a few years back once down here in California, thiough they haven't played in a pro match against each other .. As for Karan's match today, no expectations -- the boy certainly has some good stuff with him, but Bjorkman is way too experienced and talented too - it will at least be a great experience for Karan to play somebody as good as Jonas.

Here are some nice write-ups on Harsh's fabulous work so far -- Mankad in main round - 25-year-old first Indian in 9 years to progress through qualifiers (The Telegraph) .. quotes - He’s arguably the most neglected tennis player in the country. Very low profile and without a sponsor as well. When it comes to making a statement on the court, however, there’s few to match Harsh Mankad ... The first week of 2005 has already been a memorable one for Mankad. But he doesn’t want to make any predictions. “If this is to be my breakthrough year, so be it,” he remarked with a touch of cynicism .... One can’t really blame Mankad. He would surely have been in a happier frame of mind if he had a God-father .. A bit hard-hitting, that article in its tone, but actually not inaccurate in what it says .. Here is another good article: Battler Mankad makes it to the main draw (Deccan Herald) .. Some quotes - The 25-year-old from Mumbai, treated poorly by the organisers last year when he was given a wild card at the last minute and then forced to play only hours after reaching Chennai from Florida, however, said he had no point to prove. “I am focussing on my tennis and am not concerned about the other things. I took more chances and played more shots today. I need to sustain this level,” said Mankad, after making the main draw of an ATP event for the first time as a qualifier ... ... When the Briton broke Mankad in the first game of the second set, it looked curtains for the Indian. But he came back superbly, breaking Delgado in the fourth game and thereafter taking control of the rallies and games. In the second set and in the decider, the feature of his play was his timing ...." ... The Hindustan Times also had a nice article on Mankad (but the articles can be read only by subscribing to their epaper now, but it is cheap and worth getting .. some quotes - "Up against the tonsured Briton, Mankad played aggressive tennis which few thought he is capable of. Mankad, son of former Test cricketer Ashok and tennis champion Nirupama Mankad, has been knocking on the doors of the big stage for a while. But with the absence of sponsors and presence of more hyped players, .., Mankad had been sidelined ....Having touched a high of 280 last year, and ranked 300 now, Mankad believes if he can play this level of tennis, he would be happy. On Monday, he was very much in the zone. His aggression with the groundstrokes and net play was there for all to see but what really caught the eye was the superb return winners" ..All these articles were without attributions to the correspondents, but I am glad to see that the press points out the situation quite well with regard to Mankad.

There were some other good articles today .. Here is a round up article on Prakash's and Mankad's matches by Vijay Parthasarathy of The Hindu .. Here is an article by Prajwal Hegde (Deccan Herald) with some keen comments on how Prakash could use some adjustments in his gametime strategies to fully bring out his abilities and potential ..  Not much details in any article about LP's match, as it got done only by 9 pm or so and it was press deadline by then.

Jan 3 Note-3

LP played a much better second set after a mistake filled first set .. He also showed some customary spunk in saving a match point at 4-5 in the second, and then saving two more match points at 3-5 and 4-5 in the tiebreaker .. He finally fell at the 4th match point .. [R1] L.Paes (IND,NR) l. (6) Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE,87), 26 67(5) .. I am glad he got some rust off his game in the second set - it can only help him in his preparation for davis Cup in a few weeks, when we will again need him.

Jan 3 Note-2

Bad news from Chennai -- Prakash Amritraj just went down to Ivo Heuberger (SUI,124), 46 46 .. This was not expected to be an easy match at all for Prakash and it would have been a big upset had #330 Prakash pulled it off .. Heuberger had reportedly complained of a back problem but apparently he wasx fine and played well today .. Prakash will lose some points now and will drop some 30 spots in ranking.

LP is down 26 33 to the 6th seed Lu as I type .. Lot of errors from LP so far, according to those watching TV back home .. He did not hold serve till the second game of the second set .. Hope he turns it around.

Harsh Mankad will play the 8th seed Kevin Kim (USA,94) tomorrow in the first round .. Let us wish the guy all the best for the fantastic achievement .. He had made $3650 so far and that is a big help, because, as far as I know he was totally broke when he left from the US recently and really didn't even know how he could play anywhere after the two futures in India .. He also gets 10 points total now which will raise his ranking back to around #330 and place him back as the Indian #1 next week.

Vinod Sridhar went down 36 46 to the top seed in the qualies, Marcos Baghdatis earlier in the day .. Still a very good outing by Vinod, who had a very big upset win yesterday.

Jan 3 Note-1

Yesssir!!! .. Terrific news .. We have our very first Indian qualifier at the Chennai Open in nine years, and it is Harsh Mankad, who did it the old fashioned way -- he earned a spot in the main draw, upsetting the 5th seed Jamie Delgado (GBR,227), 36 63 62 just now .. Yet another comeback from dropping a set, showing that his recent hardwork has indeed helped him with his staying power on court .. This is fantastic work by HM who upset the 3rd and 5th seeds on the way to the main draw .. I think it is a fitting answer to the tournament who hardly ever gives him a chance with any help .. Go Harsh .. I have not yet got the news of Vinod's qualies match .. Also not sure whom Harsh will be playing in the first round tomorrow.

Jan 2 Notes

For the first time in nine editions of the Chennai Open, we have two Indians playing in the final round of qualifying .. Harsh Mankad and Vinod Sridhar pulled off tough three-set comebacks today to reach the Q3 .. Vinod upset the 7th seed Gabashvili today, Harsh came back from the brink to beat Andy Ram of Israel .. HM also became the first Indian to reach the Q3 twice at Chennai .. Six of the eight seeds reached the Q3 along with Harsh and Vinod who upset the 3rd seed and the 7th seed in the Q1 and Q2 rounds .. Tough matches again on Monday for these two .. Vinod runs into a very talented and in-form Marcos Baghdatis, and Harsh plays the 5th seed Jamie Delgado .. Hope we get more good news tomorrow .. 
See all the news at our Chennai Open page ..

Monday's schedule has HM and VS playing the Q3 matches at 2pm .. Then Prakash and Leander play back-to-back singles matches on the center court, followed by MB-Bjorkman playing their doubles match .. Mustafa and Vishal also play doubles late at night .. Karan will be playing singles on Tuesday .. It would be fun to see LP play singles in a pro event after two whole years .. Something tells me that he will upset the 6th seed Lu tomorrow with some old-fashioned Leander stuff that Lu is not used to seeing on the tour! ..

Jan 1 Notes

Hello folks, Happy New Year!

And the new year brings some cheer from Chennai (we badly needed some good news), as the qualies started today at the $400K Chennai Open with Harsh Mankad (IND,360) pulling a big straight sets upset over the 3rd seed in the qualies, #203 Stephane Roberts (FRA), 75 61 .. Also pulling a totally unexpected upset was Ashutosh Singh (IND,960), the very last direct entry in the qualies .. Ashutosh beat #274 Melle van Gemerden (NED) in a 64 62 match! .. Vinod and Ajay beat their Indian opponents to advance to the second round .. Harsh has a decent second round match against Andy Ram (ISR,366) who beat Mustafa Ghouse ..  Vijay Kannan who had won the KTC invitational beating young Jeevan Nedunchezhian this week, went down against the 7th seed Gabashvili .. Unfortuantely two players, Sunil Kumar and Stephen Amritraj, went down in very close three-setters where theyr seem to have played their hearts out .. See all the news at our Chennai Open page.

The singles main draw came out today -- nice to see Leander in a singles draw after a very long time (first time in two years, since Chennai 2003) .. Wildcard LP gets the 6th seed Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE,87) .. Prakash Amritraj, also with a wildcard, faces Ivo Heuberger (SUI,124) .. Young Karan Rastogi who got the third wildcard after his excellent show at the ABN Amro, has the tough job of tackling the 4th seed Jonas Bjorkman ..

Leander has selected Nenad Zimonjic as his partner for the year .. As I said in the forum, I should get some candy for predicting/suggesting the name earlier .. I didn't have any inside info or contact with LP on this .. Just thought he would be a good partner for Lee .. We didn't get our wish for 2005 for the best possible pairing, the Indian Express, but we have to be happy that both Lee and Hesh have very promising partners for next year .. Hesh will be playing with Woodbridge, as reported earlier .. The earlyd oubles entry list is at the Chennai Open page

In other news, Shikha Uberoi (soon to have IND as her country affiliation) went down in the second round of qualies at the $170K Uncle Toby's Hardcourts in Gold Coast, Australia .. 159th ranked Shikha beat Delia Sescioreanu (ROM,154) 61 64 in the first round but fell to #296 Zi Yan (CHN) in a close Q2 match 64 36 62 .. Yan had upset the 3rd seed in the Q1 round .. #295 Neha Uberoi went down iun the Q1 to #181 Nan-Nan Liu (CHN) in a good match, 57 46 .. I believe Neha is still a little bothered by the rib-cage pain she had from last month, though she is expected to be fine soon .. Sunitha Rao (USA,193)  is also there - she upset Paula Garcia (ESP,160) in the second round to reach the Q3 ..

I was glad to meet the Uberoi sisters here in LA on their way out to Australia .. Dad Mahesh Uberoi had asked Nirupama Sanjeev (now coaching in the SanFransisco bay area) to come down to meet the girls and possibly consider doing some traveling coaching for them .. So we had a nice time on Christmas Day here .. Niru was impressed by the girls' focus and said she would work with the girls, who still has Rick Maci as their coach, at his academy in Florida .. He cannot travel with them .. I think Niru would be a very good traveling coach and a great influence on the girls, with her experience on the tour and the no-nonsense approach to things ..

By the way, since we never had a proper announcement on this, I should say it -- Nirupama is now retired from tennis .. Thanks for all the pioneering work you did for Indian women's tennis, Niru! .. Check out Niru's coaching website, http:// ..

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on Jan 03 ..

I am getting some inquiries from US college coaches who are interested in Indian junior players .. I would like to be able to contact Indian players (some of the coaches are inquiring about specific names) .. If any of the junior players are reading this, please contact me .. Or if any of the other readers know the contact emails/address for any junior playera, let me know .. Please email me - R.Jayakrishnan