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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Mar 6, 2000

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Mar 6 Note-1

Took a day off, as nothing much was happening to report on Sunday ..

The grasscourt nationals starts at Kolkata today .. Srinath isn't playing there, but the good news is that Fazal is playing .. Apparently he was supposed to leave for Japan for the ITF futures there, but the Telegraph reports that Ramesh Krishnan asked Fazal to play the nationals for some useful grass match practice (probably also because it would be nice to see Fazal getting some wins for confidence .. The Davis Cup is in 4 weeks) .. So Fazal picked up a wildcard in the last minute and is seeded tops in the singles .. It's great to see an "activist" Davis Cup captain like that! .. Sunil Kumar isn't playing - he may have gone for the six week Far-east ITF tour .. Harsh Mankad is in the US in the middle of the college season .. Other than that, all the top players are playing .. The men's seeds are: [1] Syed Fazaluddin (WB), [2] Nitin Kirtane (Mah), [3] Vinod Sridhar (TN), [4] Mustafa Ghouse (Mah), [5] Vishal Uppal (Dli), [6] Vijay Kannan (Dli), [7] Vasudeva Reddy (AP) and [8] Saurav Panja (WB) ... On the women's side, Nirupama and Manisha are missing as both are off the tour with injuries .. Also, Jahnavi Parekh and Uzma Khan are in college in the US, but all other top players are there - [1] Sai Jayalakshmi (TN), [2] Rushmi Chakravorthi (TN), [3] Archana Venkatraman (Kar), [4] S K Tara (Kar), [5] Arthi Venkatraman (Kar), [6] Radhika Tulpule (Mah), [7] Geeta Manohar (AP), and [8] Liza Pereira (Mah) .. I don't know why Sheetal Gautham, who would have been the 7th seed is not playing ..

AITA had announced wildcards last week to youngsters Parantap Chaturvedi and Benjamin Xavier in to the main draw, along with Sonal Phadke on the women's side, leaving the rest of the wildcards at the tournament organizers' discretion .. Sonal is #1 in ITF ranking among our juniors and #2 in the AITA rankings behind Radhika .. She has however not played much senior events like Radhika (and also Liza Pereira, #3 junior in AITA ranks), and hence cannot enter the grasscourt nationals without a wildcard ..

I have not seen the doubles draw at Scottsdale ATP yet ..  I suppose LP has got there by now.

Mar 4 Note-2

Van Scheppingen was simply too tired, playing his 8th match in 8 days - had a hurting back and stomach cramps in the second set when he conceded against Leander in the challenger final .. It was a very even contest in the first set however, till LP came through while under pressure a few times late in the set .. Here are some details from Akshay Sawai in Mid-day, Mumbai (excerpts): .. The first deuce of the contest came as late as in the 11th game. Paes was serving at 5-5 when Van Scheppingen took him to break-point first with a fierce backhand that elicited a netted volley. The Olympic bronze medallist got a reprieve when his adversary frittered away a forehand for deuce.  Paes’ second double fault of the duel - he had three overall - handed Van Scheppingen another break-point, and this time Paes had to really stretch to save it. Courageously venturing to the net after a second serve, the top seed then lunged at a powerful assault by Van Scheppingen on his backhand. The latter could still have won the point but buried his backhand in the net. Sensed the crucial juncture, the crowd egged Paes on. Indeed, he won the next two points to come through the storm and lead 6-5.  It was tie-break time .... A long forehand and a careless backhand in the net put Paes up 2-0. He consolidated the lead when Van Scheppingen returned long, and then sent down his fourth ace. An untimely double-fault from the underdog made it 5-1 in favour of Paes, and he sealed it at 7-2 when Van Scheppingen netted yet another forehand ... As he himself had said after the semi-final, and given he was up against a serve and volleyer, it was imperative for Van Scheppingen to return well and keep his groundstrokes sharp. Instead, he had no answer to the Paes serve except for that 11th game. The eventual champ, if this week is any indication, is truly in high serving gear .. At times his deliveries had immense force, at times wicked spin.

Nice to see him serving well .. LP served 6 aces today .. Reportedly there were a few occasions this week when LP was in danger of being broken, and came up with big aces .. This is an aspect of Leander's game that all upcoming players should learn from -- the way he responds to pressure .. He doesn't allow himself to get tentative ..

As for today's match, LP reportedly did not go for the kill in the first set and was playing baseline tennis for most of the set till he got the wake up call late in the set and kicked his serve and volley game into high gear .. Prajwal Hegde says in Deccan Herald: He stayed away from the net not because he had developed a late evening allergy to it, but because he was doing enough from the back of the court .. Sharda Ugra says in The Hindu: It was a low-voltage finish to what has been a series of electrifying performances from Leander who has performed a double act this week. He has upped his training, gone through a load of workouts in the morning and has come out to play showbiz tennis under the lights .. The first set was dominated by a stand-off, with Leander strangely unwilling to go for the throat and the Dutchman willing to rally ..  I guess Leander is beginning to feel pretty confident about his fitness level and wanted to experiment with some rallying today .. That is not a bad idea - if he can mix up his serve and volley game for the big points with some basing grind-out tennis also, he can be much more effective in the next few months when he will make his push in the bigger events ..

That finishes the preparatory stage of his "comeback trail" .. Four challengers in India with three titles, 2 world series ATP events with a 1-2 record, and a grand slam where he qualified in after three rounds and won a main draw round also .. With 50 points from Mumbai, he has 48+51+15+50+5+12+50 (Lucknow grass, Jaipur grass, Chennai hard, A.Open hard, Dubai hard, Kolkata grass, Mumbai hard) = 231 points from the last 7 events since December .. This will place him at around #115 in ESP (entry ranking), the real ranks used for tournament enetry, etc .. LP does not get any race ranking points from this title .. The calendar year race points, 1/5th of the entry points, are given only at the events above challengers .. LP has 3+10+1 = 14 pts from the three such events, but that will place him inside the top-80 next week in the official "ranks" used for nothing but hype from ATP! ..

Leander still has some work to do before getting consistently into big event draws .. Though he has only 105 points out of his 52 week total of 336 points to defend till december, a big chunk comes off in early April itself .. LP has 14 points falling off on Apr 10 (Chennai Open 99) and 48 on Apr 17 (Delhi challenger) .. He can play singles at two masters events (Indian Wells in the week after the next and the two-week Key Biscayne masters that immediately follows) before going to India for Davis Cup in the next week (Apr 7-9) .. LP normally does not play anywhere the week after Davis Cup, as his body needs a break after DC - and this time he would have played 6 weeks at a stretch .. So, he has to pick up about 100 to 125 points from Indian Wells and Key Biscayne to have a chance for a top-110 ranking (around 375+ points) required for French Open entry that closes on Apr 17th, six weeks ahead of the event .. Since he has to play qualies at Indian Wells and Key Biscayne, it is quite unlikely that he will pick up 100+ points at those two events .. If he does not get any points there, we will be looking at 274 points and a 135-140 ranking in mid April, though his ranking can only go up for the rest of the year after that .. LP may be ready to do something at the two US masters events though .. I don't think he has ever had as much of a burning desire to do well in singles as he has now in his career (except for one week in Atlanta, perhaps!) .. And we shouldn't count LP out in anything, when he *wants* it badly.

He will be at the Scottsdale ATP in Arizona, US, starting Monday .. Basically just taking a break playing some doubles to get used to a new partner (Arthurs? Gimelstob ? not sure) to play with at the following two masters events .. While it's not nice to wish for him not to do well in doubles, I would be concerned if he does too well at Scottsdale - because he will end up having to miss the qualies at Indian Wells .. No qualies problems at Key Biscayne after Indian Wells though, as it is a two week event with qualifying rounds starting on the monday of the first week.

By the way, the Mumbai challenger title is the 10th challenger singles title of LP's career .. 5 of them came in the last 13 months (Kolkata, Delhi, Lucknow, Jaipur, Mumbai) out of necessity .. Before that he had one challenger title in India (Mumbai in 94) and 4 outside India (Guangzhou 92, Binghamton 94, Mauritius 96, Bangkok 97) .. This is the first place where LP is repeating a challenger title - though I think the 94 challenger was not conducted at the CCI courts in Mumbai .. He has won each of the last 7 challenger finals he has played in India and abroad .. The last final he lost was at Chennai in 1996 September, against Ogorodov .. I doubt there are too many people with more challenger titles in ATP history ..  While it shows Leander's willingness to do whatever it takes, it's not something to brag about either ..  I hope that this is the last Indian challenger that he plays because *has to*, to get points .. In fact I feel that today's was quite probably the last serious challenger match for LP in India .. If his ranking falls again down to these levels, I don't see him trying something like this again .. He has done his job very well not wasting any time in his comeback work since December, and not going through any prolonged struggles and getting embarrassed with labels as a challenger journeyman! .. His ranking is back high enough now - it's time to play the bigger events and put to rest any and all questions on his singles career ..  A top-50 ranking requires about 750-800 points .. He has picked up 231 in three months .. Can he pick up at least 550 more in the next 8 months? .. We will see .. I am beginning to get excited.

Mar 4 Note-1

LP won the title at the Mumbai challenger .. Leander Paes d. (q) D. van Scheppingen (NED,509), 7-6(2) 3-2 (conc.) .. No other details yet .. Anzari/Iwabuchi won the doubles title.

Mar 3 Note-2

Leander seems to have had a good match today except for a small period in the second set when Chicoine pounced on a break chance he got and held on for the set .. Chicoine is the type who runs down everything and never gives up, but Leander is way too experienced with his serve and volley game to get over most such players at this level when LP is not having an off day .. Tomorrow's final will not be an easy one either - Dennis van Scheppingen has come through three rounds of qualies and four main draw wins including three-setters in the QF and SF .. He is 24 years old and is a former top-100 player .. He came up near top-100 as a 21 year old, and was at around #90 for a few months in 1997 .. He could never move further up however and stayed at that level, around 100 to 125, for a very long time .. However, he had some health problems in 1998 and that continued to affect him for over a year - apparently lost a lot of weight after some serious stomach infection .. He never left the tour or anything, and continued to play but basically without winning much for over a year - and by the end of 1999 he was at rock bottom with a ranking near 500 .. Actually this is the first time that he is winning 4 main draw matches in a row since a challenger in Chile 2.5 years back in 1997 .. The last time he won a challenger was in July 1996 .. He is still pretty young though .. The newspaper reports say that he is again looking good, though, and he seems to be gaining confidence .. They guy did know how to play a while back, and if he has again become healthy and confident enough, he could give Leander some trouble .. van Scheppingen was LP's first victim during his comeback trail after that terrible 8 match losing streak last year .. In the first round at Lucknow in December, LP beat him 7-6(4) 6-4 .. That may be the only time these two have met.

Today's win gives Leander 35 points for a total of 321 and a ranking just outside 120 ..  A title will give him 15 more points.

I believe the final will be on Doordarshan at 6 pm Saturday .. If anybody would be watching and would like to come in with some score updates, please let me know .. We will keep the chat room open .. It's been a while since we had a chat session anyway! .. That is saturday 7.30 am EST, and 4.30 am PST, USA .. 1.30 pm London.

Mar 3 Note-1

Leander won the semifinal over Chicoine 62 46 61 at Mumbai .. Turned out to be a bit tougher than expected, I guess .. Faces Dennis van Scheppingen in the finals tomorrow .. More later.

Mar 2 Notes

Leander had some hiccups today but also played brilliantly at the right times to advance to the semifinal at the Mumbai challenger .. Leander d. Galimberti, 7-6(4) 6-4 .. He was up 3-0 in the first set, but then lost 5 games in a row and was in danger of losing the set .. The reports said that he was trying to hit a few baseline winners that misfired during that stretch .. He took a medical break to check his knee (he had bruised himself with his racket during service), broke Galimberti's rhythm a bit, and went into attack mode at the net at the right time .. Helped also by a Galimberti double fault, he broke back and then sent it to a tiebreaker .. Galimberti "served three doublefaults in the tiebreak and on his second setpoint Paes passed him with a backhand that would have sliced a raw mango", says Prajwal Hegde in Deccan Herald! .. In the second set LP fell behind 0-2 but again got it back together to cruise to a win .. Somehow, I am still not getting the feeling that LP is in his peak form on hardcourts just yet (I am wondering if his backhand top spin shot is back - my litmus test for his strength and form! :-)) ..  He is slowly inching towards better and better form to be able to tackle top-100 players on bigger hardcourt events soon .. He is certainly doing everything he can, with a deadly resolve to take his game back up to the next level though, and that is very clear from all newspaper reports .. It's not easy to keep the focus to come out ready to fight every day like this, against lesser opponents, for paltry points - with everyone looking at you as the one to carry the crowd interst till the last day of these home tournaments .. He has picked up 22 points at Mumbai so far, for a total of 200 points from 4 challengers and 3 ATP events since his "comeback" started three months back ..  That is better than anybody thought in December, when he was sitting there with hardly 200 points from the previous one year! .. Leander goes up against Tom Chicoine, who is a qualifier, but is known as a grinder and fighter, in the semi.  The other semifinal is between Dennis van Scheppingen and Florian Allgauer .. See the Mumbai challenger page.

Here are some comments from Leander in an interview with Akshay Sawai published in Mid-day, Mumbai (excerpts): “I know I have the singles potential. I am so hungry for singles, it’s the only thing left in my career. I want to improve my career best rank of 73. Maybe it won’t happen this year, but the ground work has to be done from now .. However, Indian fans need not worry about the Olympics, which continue to occupy a high slot on the Paes agenda. “The only area I am looking at in doubles is the Olympics. I would love to win a medal. But even in that case, I will have an idea of our chances when Mahesh comes back.” ... Paes was in an expansive, even philosophical mood yesterday evening as the conversation covered delicate matters. At times he turned emotional, at times restive. Like when he was asked for a message to Indian sports fans (who may get disappointed if LP-MB don't do too well in doubles this year): “I don’t have an answer to that,” he retorted. “There are some things I do my way. I am going for a personal goal. If people understand that well and good. If they perceive it as something selfish, then I am not going to explain it to them. I do not have the time. At the end of 1998, I had to decide on singles or doubles. I figured it will mean more to me, to Indian tennis and to us if we won a doubles Grand Slam than me reaching the singles top-50.  I was number 73 in singles then. I could have comfortably made the top-50. But I chose doubles.” .. Here is the link to the article [not sure if the link is permanent, but I think they have started archiving their articles after revamping the news site] ..

Akshay Sawai had another good article on the troubles Indian players have recently had in challengers .. Here are excerpts:  “The standard of a Challenger is quite high compared to a Satellite or Futures. You have young guys firing forehands and backhands, hitting big serves. It takes time to make the transition,” explained Paes .. “Players today are just going for outright winners. When I was coming up, Gabrichidze from Russia was the only guy who would hit winners. Others would build up their points.” ... He added, “But some things should not go unseen. Fazaluddin won the doubles in Ahmedabad, that’s a hell of an achievement. Vishaal Uppal won a singles round in Calcutta which was commendable too.” .. Davis Cupper Fazaluddin, who stormed into the reckoning with a Futures win in Chandigarh two years ago, said this was a temporary phase that would make way for a better tomorrow. “It has been only two years since international competitions multiplied in India, so people must have patience. In a couple of years, there will be more Indians doing well .... I have yet to win a Challenger match but now I am getting closer. This year I had good matches against tough players like Jamie Delgado, Paradorn Srichaphan and Mose Navarra. Maybe I am like the Indian cricket team. One win and I am on my way!” .. remarked the Calcuttan ... Sandeep Kirtane, a 1995 Mumbai Challenger quarter-finalist had a lot to say .. Sandeep first pointed to the startling absence of a travelling coach for Indian players, reiterating a call made even by Ramesh Krishnan ...“It is easy for people to talk, but we are by ourselves all the time. We lose a match, go back to the hotel and there is no one to tell us our mistakes. You need someone to talk, guide and take care of you. This is not the way to go about it, wild cards or whatever,” said the stocky Pune right-hander. “The AITA should appoint someone who regularly interacts with players.”  .. That last point was very well-made .. AITA has been taking care of matters one by one, but this is one that still remains to be solved .. There just has to be somebody, apolitical and with enough caring for Indian tennis, who can watch our players, be at the tournaments, offer tips, give them encouragement and criticism and be in general a shrink for them too .. it is tough on the tour otherwise .. Ramesh Krishnan has mentioned it a few times too.

As for everybody wondering about the poor show by our players other than LP, I have a few comments .. I have seen quite a few newspaper correspondents mentioning how these international events are not helping Indian players much and wondering whether the money spent is worth it .. This I take issue with .. India is a big country, and it's commerical and corporate clout is not too small either .. There is enough money out there .. If India and Indians want to be big players in any arena, we have to stop thinking small .. You can't convince me that Indian sponsors are just wasting their money because foreigners win a couple of challengers .. The publicity these events generate is tremendous value for their sponsorship money - just count the number of people who read "Videocon challenger" in today's Indian newspapers, and show me any other challenger or futures anywhere in the world where the title sponsor's name was read by more people .. Come on, folks .. India is not a chicken feed country which does not have corporate houses who can't spend money on these events - and we should think big and make use of our strength in numbers too - it is no joke that India has one of the largest middle-class consumer bases in the world .. India has a very large fan base in sports too (and it's not just in cricket) .. Plus, it's not like we have been so great at sports that the Indian sports fans are spoilt enough to expect our players to do well in all sports events and stop following sports if they don't, after all ! .. If Indians do well in these events, great, but if they don't, the sky doesn't fall for the sponsors .. It does matter a bit for gate collection - which is nothing much anyway .. I hope the newspapers would stop creating unnecessary concerns ..  Anyway, what are we complaining about?  Indians were in the finals of 5 of the last 7 challengers (two of them had LP and MB facing each other!) .. Even in events like the Chennai ATP and last week's challenger when LP wasn't there to keep interest till the end, we had Indians like Sri and Fazal in at least the doubles finals .. And we have consistently done well in all the satellite legs, too .. No need to be overly concerned.   Give it more time, make it part of our sports calendar, let the sponsors make use of the publicity they get from these events and let the momentum continue .. Think big, hope for big results, and work towards big results - and show perseverence in whatever you do .. It's a knee-jerk reaction to say that international events are of no use, etc [our newspaper folks have been very reasonable in their comments so far though .. They are sensible enough to know that the alternative of not having these evnts is not very good anyway!]..

No other news to report today.

Mar 1 Note-2

Leander won the second round match easily over Jerome Hanquez (FRA,311), 61 64 .. LP reportedly played his own game perfectly - the chips, the slices, the lobs, the slaps - everything .. Had six aces too, along with some "breathtaking passing shots", as PTI said ..  He frustrated the Frenchman and won the match in an hour (see the terrific reports by Prajwal Hegde in the Deccan Herald, and by Sharda Ugra in The Hindu -- these two write some of the finest reports on tennis matches these days!) .. LP was not in his best form in the first round against Saurav Panja, but was in full flow today, it seems .. Double-SP lost a three-setter in doubles, and Vijay Kannan and Sandeep Kirtane reached QF beating Terachi and Ghouse .. 2nd seed Ogorodov fell early again .. 8th seed Coetzee retired in second set due to back problems .. Three qualifiers are in the QFs, and only two seeds remain .. LP plays Giorgio Galimberti (ITA,225) next .. See the Mumbai challenger page.

Mar 1 Note-1

Leander is ranked #134 this week in ESP, and can move to about 115 if he wins the title .. All other rankings remain basically the same, except for Fazal's doubles rank which has gone up to 244 from 309 with the title last week ..  LP is still #1 in doubles, but with only about 30 points lead over Ferreira .. Mahesh is at #5 .. By the way, I have not reported on the doubles action in ATP much .. The team that is hot right now is the South African combo of David Adams and John-Laffnie DeJager, who have won two big titles in a row - at the $800K London tournament last week, and at the $850K Rotterdam tournament the week before .. That brings them up to #2 in team rankings behind Ferreira/Leach .. There was a new team winning a title last week - Byron Black and Don Johnson at Mexico City .. A team that has looked good lately is Justin Gimelstob and Scott Humphries who won the San Jose ATP title a few weeks back, and reached the final at London last week .. They are up at #7 now .. Alright - when the cat is away, the mice will play .. and we all know who the real cats are, right ? :-) .. I am kidding.

Feb 29 Note-2

OK, the matters get settled very fast, after one round, in Indian challengers these days .. As Srinath and Mustafa fell today, we are left with Leander as usual in the second round at Mumbai .. If you are wondering what's up with Srinath and why he is losing so listlessly these days, nobody seems to know the answer .. Here is what Prajwal Hegde wrote about his loss today, in the Deccan Herald: The last time the 26-year- old Indian played Chiccoine, in the final of the Indian satellite in Pune four months ago, Srinath won that match for the loss of just five games ..  Srinath's dismal 1-6, 2-6 loss did not for a minute illustrate any great improvement in the American`s game, instead it highlighted a certain slackness in Srinath`s play that has dogged him for the last two months. There is something bothering the Mysorean and it has little to do with hitting forehands, backhands or serves. He is clearly battling within and unfortunately it is affecting his tennis ..  Here is what Sharda Ugra wrote in The Hindu: In the third leg of the 1999 Satellite, Srinath had played Chicoine in Pune, on a surface similar to the CCI courts' Playpave, with his ankle heavily strapped but his spirit free and thrashed the American in straight sets. Today, the ankle brace was gone but his spirit was weighed down with some burden that has threatened to overwhelm the 25-year-old Mysorean ... Chicoine, a 23-year-old journeyman is ranked No. 321 in the world and has got there on the strength of his abilities to grind down opponents rather than dazzle them with technical virtuosity. Today, Srinath did not need any pushing - he caved in on the back of missing first serve, numerous unforced errors, particularly on the forehand and a complete lack of a timing and focus .. In other words, Srinath is in an unadulterated slump for now, and it seems like he himself has to find a way out somehow .. What is sad is that a lot of our players are either injured or in slumps -- for now, just Leander carries on .. ..

At the challenger, Fazal and Kauffman lost to Nir Welgreen and Andy Ram in a third set tiebreaker .. Panja-Prahlad are yet to play, as are Vijay Kannan and Sandeep Kirtane who face Mustafa Ghouse and Takahiro Terachi (Ghouse had to change partners as Vishal Uppal got injured during singles qualies) .. Three more seeds fell in singles - 4th seed Navarra, 5th seed Gaudi and 7th seed Craca  .. Now only three seeds remain -- Leander is on course to meet 8th seed Jeff Coetzee in the QF - In the second round on Tuesday, Leander faces Jerome Hanquez of France who is ranked 311 this week (he was #254 last week, but lost a bunch of points thid week) .. 3rd seed Ketola and 2nd seed Ogorodov are the only other seeds remaining in the second round ..  See the Mumbai challenger page.

News on the two wounded soldiers in New York -  Nirupama and Mahesh are both doing some practice hitting the balls after injury layoffs; they were to hit some against each other today .. Both are slowly recovering; that's the good news .. I saw a report that Niru may show up at the grasscourt nationals next week at Kolkata - she was supposed to do some rehab in Calcutta under Dr.Paes' watch also .. Not sure if she is in playing shape yet though .. The ankle was almost fine, but was still hurting at some odd angles as of last week .. Need to find out if she has changed her schedule to an early return to match play - she told me a few days back that she may take the slow path to recovery, and may probably play the two futures in India in early April (Mumbai and Delhi) next .. It will be the first time in over 4 years that she will be playing a futures, if so .. Sometimes it's better to take it slow after injuries .. Anyway that will give a nice boost to the organizers of the futures if she plays .. Right after the futures, the Fed Cup follows for Niru on Apr 24th .. She is expected to be fully recovered by then.

As for the grasscourt nationals next week, the Times of India reports that Fazal and Srinath are not confirmed yet .. I hope they play it - both could use some wins wherever they can get.

By the way, it seems that AITA has now decided to give some funds to Shivang Mishra also for traveling to junior tournamants, as I heard from a source today .. That is quick work from AITA after they had announced last week the team of players for the far east events without Shivang in it .. Shivang Mishra has come up about 50 spots to #132 in the ITF junior world rankings with the points he had from the rather unexpected final at the Grade-3 Dhaka international last week .. He is #2 among Indians behind Sunil Kumar in monday's ITF rankings - and he deserves some help .. AITA once again shows that they can respond fast and they are showing some genuine plans to improve the situation, if the players would do their part .. By the way, there is even a message today in our discussion forum with kudos to AITA .. Hey, when was the last time you saw an Indian sports federation getting kudos from sports fans ?? :-)

Feb 29 Note-1

Just found that Srinath lost 1-6 2-6 to Tom Chicoine of US today, somebody he had beaten during the satellites just 5 month back .. What is really up with Srinath ?? .. I don't know.

Late update on a match at Mumbai yesterday -- Fazal lose 4-6 5-7 to Georgio Galimberti ranked #226, about 200 spots above him .. Another reasonably close match I guess for fazal but no cigar .. Anyway, I didn't see a report on this match in any of the newspapers, as it was a late evening match - so no details.

Feb 28 Notes

Leander won easily today in the first round at Mumbai, 63 63, over wildcard Saurav Panja .. Other matches - Motevassel d. Dahan 16 64 76(7), Hanquez d. Cobolli 64 62, and Ketola d. Milligan 62 61 .. More later.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Feb 28 ..

I am getting some enquiries 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 enquiring 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 player, let me know .. I would like to have a mailing list where I can post general announcements and enquiries from the coaches too .. Please email me - R.Jayakrishnan.