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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the week ending on Mar 14, 2005
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2005)

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Mar 14 Notes

Good news today -- Prakash Amritraj qualified into the $50K+H Ho Chi Minh City challenger in Vietnam .. The sixth seed had an easy 62 62 win over unseeded Minh Le (USA) .. Prakash got a bit lucky, as he did not face any top-400 players in the draw, but he probably would have qualified in anyway, based on the form he is in now - as his 60 62 win against #492 Matsui in the Q2 round showed .. Awaiting news on whom he plays in the main draw.

Not a great day yesterday, as Mahesh Bhupathi and the Uberoi sisters went down .. Leander advanced, and Mustafa Ghouse won a doubles title, for good news.

At Indian Wells, the 5th seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Todd Woodbridge went down 61 36 67(4) .. That is two losses in a row for these two where they won the first set and could not keep it up (they had lost the Dubai semi to Damm-Suk like that, in the previous match) .. Strange .. Miami Masters next for them.

Leander Paes and Nenad Zimonjic won 62 26 64 .. They withstood a pretty good charge by their opponent in the second set and late in the third det .. They took an early advantage to 2-0 in the third set, and had to play well at some key points late in the third set when they were twice down on serve at 0-30 .. Their R2 opponents will be decided today .. I believe the second round wuill be tomorrow (Tuesday) ..

I was at the $50K Orange challenger qualifying yesterday and watched Neha and Shikha Uberoi, both not at 100% right now .. Both struggled badly too, but in retrospect that was to be expected if they were not in their best physical health in a qualifying field that is worse than the main draw of most challengers .. Shikha went down to #183 Elise Tamaela (NED) and Neha to #199 Vanina Garcia-Sokol (ARG) .. Take a look at the reports I posted in the Shikha and Neha threads in the forum.

Excellent work by top seeds Mustafa Ghouse and David Sherwood (GBR) who won the doubles title at the $15K+H France F4 in Lille .. They beat the French pair, Patrice Atias and Frederic Jeanclaude in a tough match, 64 67(4) 76(3) .. Congratulations!

Finally found the results, about three days late, on the douibles semifinal for Rushmi and Sai at the $10K in Benalla Australia last week .. The second seeds went down to the eventual doubles winners .. [R1] (2) R.Chakravarthi/ S.Jayalakshmy d. (Q) Sevvy Gallios (AUS)/ Emma Kidd (AUS), 63 62 .. [QF] d. Mirielle Dittman (AUS)/ Svenja Weidemann (GER), 16 76(8) 75 .. [SF] l. Julia Vorobieva (RUS)/ Meng Yuan (CHN), 63 16 57 ..

The Kolkata futures final round qualies is today .. I have not seen the draws yet.

Mar 13 Note-2

Leander and Mahesh both play their doubles R1 matches at 10 am this morning at Indian wells .. I decided that I would instead go to the $50K Orange challenger and cover Shikha's and Neha's singles matches  at the $50K Orange challenger qualies .. Hopefully LP and MB will win, and I can go to Indian Wells later this week to catch their action :-)

Shikha Uberoi missed the Orange main draw by a couple of spots, and is playing Q1 today against Elise Tamaela (NED,183) this afternoon .. Younger sister Neha Uberoi got a wildcard to the qualies; she plays Vanina Garcia-Sokol (ARG,199) at around noon .. By the way, Sunitha Rao (USA) got a wildcard to the main draw.

Good news from the $50K+H Ho Chi Minh city qualifying rounds today .. Prakash Amritraj did bomb-attack 60 62 for a win in the Q2 over Toshihide Matsui (JPN,492), who didn't know what hit him I guess .. Prakash also has quite an easy Q3 match, on paper, against Minh Le (USA), who had upset the 3rd seed Baccanello earlier and got a retirement from Travis Rettenmaier today .. Go Kash!

More good news! -- Sania Mirza has got a main draw wildcard to the big $2.1 Million Nasdaq-100 Tier-I WTA at Key Biscayne, Miami, USA, which starts the week after next .. The girl's reputation precedes her .. That shows how much of buzz the Hyderabad Hurricane has created in the WTA circles .. Neha Uberoi also has a wildcard to the main draw, which she earned because of her win in the prestigious Nasdaq junior event last year .. Unfortunately, Shikha Uberoi, who really has lost out on some chances for some of these wildcard goodies due to her having switched allegience to India (I hope everybody realizes this!), will have to play qualies again .. She is more than capable of qualifying in once again, like she did at the US Open last year and at Indian Wells this week, though .. Again, a lot of wonderful action to look forward to from all these girls on the WTA tour .. Damnm, they are going to keep me busy for ever, at this rate!

Not much news at all from the South Club on the qualies for the $10K clay futures .. The main draw starts there tomorrow .. I wish the South Club had a website like the one that the saturday Club had last year for the Kolkata futures, which was probably the very best and most promptly kept-up-to-date website I have seen for any Indian event! .. Well, goo dthings never last long .. Jaidep Mukerjea is again the tournament director, but the event was moved to South Club, where they had played a few matches last year also during the saturday club futures.

March 13 Note-1

Shikha Uberoi had a great fighting start against Meghann Shaughnessy yesterday at the Indian Wells, but she became very lucky with a very untimely asthma attack (caused by the high pollen count and the desert weather, which finally got to her) .. Unfortunate, because she had pulled back from a 2-5 deficit and saved two set points there to even it at 5-5 in the first set when it happened .. At that point the players had won exactly 34 points each .. Shikha proceeded to lose 23 of the next 30 odd points, at one point losing 15 points in a row too .. So, a 57 16 loss .. As the fans in the chatroom said, it is an indication of how far we have come, when we go into a match by Shikha or Sania against a top-100 players expecting our girls to win and get disappointed when they cannot .. Shikjha of course showed her wonderful fighting abilities in the first set when she was healthy -- at one point she faced a 0-40 on her serve and came out with a second serve ace to win the game with 5 straight points .. That is kind of player she is, being one of the top 10 fastest servers on the WTA tour, etc .. But yesterday was not the day .. She used to have worse asthma problems but it has not bothered her much lately - I suppose the problem chose a bad day to make a return .. Anyway, great run, Shikha, to reach the second round there.

Also, a very late update on something that completely escaped my attention this week .. Mustafa Ghouse is at the big $15K+H France F4 futures in Lille, and has reached the doubles final with David Sherwood of GBR .. Seeded first, they beat Dominique Coene (BEL)/ Jasper Smit (NED) 63 76(2) in the R1, wildcards Artem Sitak (RUS)/ Roman Valent (SUI) 63 75 in the QF, and the Belgian pair, Steve Darcis (BEL)/ Stefan Wauters (BEL) 76(5) 16 63 inm the SF  .. In the final, I believe today, they play Patrice Atias (FRA)/ Frederic Jeanclaude (FRA) .. Mustafa had actually played the singles qualies, but went down with a retirement at 16 14 against Alexandre Renard (FRA) .. Looks like he was OK enough to play in doubles though.

March 12 Notes

Shikha Uberoi's big second round match against the 21st seed Meghann Shaughnessy (USA,53) is in about an hour, as I type .. 10 am California (11.30 pm India, 6 pm London)  .. Come on into the chatroom to follow the match point-by-point and cheer our girl onto another big upset! .. Meghann will be a tough one, 5-11 tall and with a big serve and all .. After an indifferent start to the year with first round exits at the WTA-Canberra and the Australian Open,  Meghann regrouped and reached the final of the memphis WTA, and has been playing quite well .. Meghann was as high as #11 in WTA four years back but the 25 year old dropped a bit in her ranking in the last couple of weeks from #34 to #53 as some points dropped off ..

The men's doubles draw came out at the Indian Wells .. Bhupathi-Woodbridge, seeded 5th, face Yves Allegro (SUI)/ Michael Kohlmann (GER) .. They have Pavel/Prieto or Kerr/Oliver for the second round and possibly Bryan/Bryan for the QF .. Paes-Zimonjic are seeded 6th and run into Julien Knowle (AUT)/ Petr Pala (CZE) first .. They have Davydenko/Hrbaty or Malisse/Rochus for second round, and possibly (1) Knowles/Netsor for QF .. Go Lee!  Go Hesh!

At the $50K+H Ho Chi Minh City challenger qualies today, 6th seeded Prakash Amritraj (IND,360) advanced with a Q1 win over Dmitri Sitak (RUS,644), 76(4) 64 .. This brings up the Q2 against Toshihide Matsui (JPN,491) .. The 3rd seed #304 Baccanello was upset by a relatively unknown Minh Le (USA,1473) in PA's part of the draw, and so things may have become a bit easier for Kash to make it to the main draw, hopefully!

AITA announced yesterday that the upcoming Asia-Oceania regional Davis Cup tie against Uzbekistan will be on grass courts at the Jai Club in Jaipur .. Hey, I am happy that it at least temporarily got out of the Delhi-Kolkata shuttle run, at least .. Good job, AITA! .. On the other hand, Krish in our forum raised the problem about extreme heat up there in the first week of May in Jaipur .. That is a concern, and hopefully it would affect the Uzbeks more than our players .. This is once again a reason to develop some grasscourts in some place with milder weather like Bangalore .. Is anybody down there listening? .. I am sure AITA would like to have some options in these things, even if they have a preference for Delhi where they own the stadium - but there also needs to be some move from local folks in TN, KAR, AP and MAH .. Interestingly, our resident doc, Bhushan, had a very nice idea in our forum thread on tennis surfaces - why not get some resort chain interested in putting in some grass courts and perhaps offering grass tennis and golf as part of a health spa package for rich foreigners? .. It is indeed the best surface for older people to play on, as it is much more gentle on the hips and knees (trust a doctor to think of that!) .. "FirstIndianFan" even came up with a name for that -- "Ayurvedic Tennis Panacea" of India (ATP of India!) :) .. I have talked about the resort idea before, but this adds more to it! .. If the state tennis units, clubs and gymkhanas in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, etc cannot come up with a way to make grass courts financially viable, hey, perhaps some private folks could consider a way and try to make some mileage from having the only good grass courts south of the windhyas .. Hosting a Davis Cup tie would be fantastic exposure for the facility too .. How about Amby Valley near Mumbai? .. Think outside the box, please!

As for Jaipur, it was the venue of our very last World group win! .. Nine years back in 1996, when we beat Netherlands .. The tie where Mahesh pulled a Leander and won all three of his matches including 5-setters against Siemerinka and Eltingh, and LP and MB won the reverse singles after India fell behind 1-3 after the doubles loss .. That was the last tie played at Jaipur .. I am extremely glad to see the Pink City hosting another DC .. Let's go, Jaipur!!!!!

AITA also announced the junior team for the Asian ITF junior tour .. Again, I am very glad to see them continuing the work of sending a team to those events .. I was worried last year that AITA was losing steam in what they did for 2-3 years in junior development, with nice coordinated planning for sending a team with coaches to top foreign events and to grand slams .. The team includes all the top juniors - Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, Vivek Shokeen, Sanam Singh, Sandhya Nagaraj and Madura Ranganathan.  The coaches will be Gajendra Singh and Hiten Joshi. They will go to five ITF junior events - at Kuala Lumpur, Pattaya, Manila, Nagoya and Seoul over the next five weeks .. This is really the best news I have seen in quite a while .. The key is with the youngsters! ..

I suppose for whatever reason Rupesh Roy has stopped playing the juniors? .. He is one of the wildcards for the Kolkata $10K futures starting on the coming monday.

Mar 11 Notes

Prakash Amritraj is at the qualies for the $50K+H Ho Chi Minh City challenger .. The draw just came out .. PA is seeded 6th and plays Dmitri Sitak (RUS,644) tomorrow.

Mar 10 Notes

Is Indian women's tennis on a big high or what? .. Two girls are not allowing us to take a breath, as they take turns pullng upset after upset! .. It was Mumbai-born Shikha Uberoi's chance to do her "thang" yesterday at the big $2.1 Million Indian Wells Tier-I WTA .. Just after we had two weeks of Sania show, we have the Shikha show in full swing at the Indian Wells .. [R1] (Q) Shikha Uberoi (IND,149) d. Akiko Morigami (JPN,74), 64 75 .. I did try to drive up to Indian Wells after my afternoon class, but two extra hours of traffic delays killed me, as I walked in only when Shikha had just finished her match .. So, no match report to give, except tha Shikha had to come back from 1-4 down in the second and play very well to get past Akiko who is not at all an easy customer .. I did spend some good time with Shikha, Neha and proud dad Mahesh Uberoi over dinner, and that's all the news! .. Fantastic win for Shikha, for whom this is the second top-100 upset .. Up next for her, on saturday, is the 21st seeded Meghann Shaughnessy of USA, ranked #53 (who has been ranked often in the top-20 and 30) .. She picked up 8 bonus points for 24 total from this win .. That plus 15 (including 4 bonus) for coming through the tough qualifying rounds gives her 39 points, which is enough to take her point total from 232.5 to about 270, and her ranking from #149 to a career high at around #129 ..

Can you believe that Shikha was ranked #275 and Sania #336 just six months back? .. Incredible climb by them, and it all started with Shikha's big run at Louisville and at the US Open six months back .. On a quick count, these two have pulled off 16 upset wins against top-150 players since then (6 by Shikhka and 10 by Sania), eight against top-100 players .. All this after we had hardly had 4 or 5 such upsets in the history of Indian women's tennis before ..

In other news, Rushmi and Sai did well to win one more round and reach the semis at the $10K at Benalla, Australia but then went down .. [R2] Sai Jayalakshmy (IND,564) d. Aleksandra Srndovic (SWE,641), 63 63 .. [QF] l. (1) Meng Yuan (CHN,275) 46 26 .. [R2] (2) Rushmi Chakravarthi (IND,371) d. (WC) Jessica Engels (AUS,1032) 61 36 60 .. [QF] (2) Rushmi Chakravarthi (IND,371) l. (6) Emily Hewson (AUS,399), 64 16 57 ..

Mar 9 Notes

Here is a match report posted in the forum on Shikha's fantastic win yesterday to qualify into the big Indian Wells Tier-I .. There was so much tension in this match with all the back and forth breaks, not to mention toilet break by both girls, and trainers coming out to helo both the girls, and then Shikha finally throwing up .. The report talks about Shikha's qualities as a never-say-die player .. Go girl! ..  Shikha's match against #74 Morigami is the last one tomorrow  .. Should be around 4 or 5 pm .. I have a class to teach in the afternoon, but if the match start looks late enough, I will try to avoid traffic cops and drive the 110 miles to get there and report the match for you .. We will be in the chatroom during the  match with point by point updates ..

The entry list for the $15K+H Chennai event has come out (I have posted it in the forum) .. Incredibly tough field with #244 Aisam Qureshi as the top entry and the highest Indian entry #303 Harsh Mankad as low as the 8th seed .. Only Mankad, Prakash and Sunil have made direct entry, as the list closed at #401, not too far from the final closing rank for many challengers in India .. I would think that many of the players were upset at the surface change to clay announced only 5 weeks before the deadline (some of them, like Aisam, had decided not to enter clay challengers for the same week - which had entries a week earlier - in favor of the two Indian $15K+H hardcourt events; they must be mad about hearing of the event being moved to clay just 5 days ahead of entry the deadline) .. Hopefullly at least Bangalore $15K+H in the following week will be on hard courts, though we are hearing rumors that it may be moving to clay too .. Yikes!

Good start in the main draw at the $10K in Benalla, Australia, by Rushmi and Sai .. Sai jayalakshmy (IND,564) upset the 6th seed Christina Horiatopoulos (AUS,512), 63 61 to advance .. Sai had upset the same player in straight sets in the previous week too -- it is fair to say that she will turn into "Horrified"poulos if she ever faces Sai again :-) .. 2nd seed Rushmi Chakravarthi (IND,371) beat the Australian wildcard Marija Mirkovic, 61 36 60.. The one who went down was the qualifier Parul Goswami (IND,869), who fell 57 06 to Nicole Kriz (AUS,585) .. In the second round, Sai plays Aleksandra Srndovic (AUS,641) and Rushmi faces the wildcard Jessica Engels (AUS,1032) .. Parul and Erica Mizuno (JPN) lost the R1 doubles to Julia Vorobieva (RUS) and Meng Yuan (CHN) , 36 26 .. sai and Rushmi, seeded 2nd, play qualifiers Sevvy Gallios and Emma Kidd of Australia.

Mar 8 Notes

Great work by Shikha Uberoi at the Indian Wells qualies .. [Q2] (25) Shikha Uberoi (IND/USA,148) d. (24) Ekaterina Bychkova (RUS,146), 62 36 64 .. This started as a rout, but tightened up in the second set and finally became a 2 hour 37 minute barn-burner .. Shikha went up 4-1 in the 3rd, then things went south for a while .. It weas serious drama at the end .. Shikha dropped serve to fall to 4-3, but broke back to 5-3, then dropped serve again to 5-4 before breaking again to win at 6-4 .. Tough gritty win by Shikha .. She plays Akiko Morigami (JPN,74) in the first round at Indian Wells, scheduled for Thursday.

My notes below, on Davis Cup and grasscourts, continue to generate some discussion in the forum .. I am even getting some emails, with most people disagreeing with me -- mostly on the basis that I am starting a "divisive" argument with the North vs South business .. Ah, come on .. India as a country has survived way too long for us to be worrying about division and all that whenever an issue like this is brought up .. Stop being afraid of speaking openly .. Anyway, I certainly did not imply that anybody was trying to keep it at the north and east to consciously be nasty to the people in the south or west .. I am just presenting the facts that it has not gone away from that "belt" of venues for two decades and that the fans have not had a chance to even consider traveling to one of these Davis Cup events .. To me, taking it around the country to different places makes a lot of sense .. If you are telling me that nobody would care and that it is not important to bring it to a place not more than 500-1000 kilometer (overnight train journey or bus ride) from the population centers in the south/west like Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Kochi, Chennai, Hyderabad, etc, fine .. But stop worrying about "regionalism" and all that .. That is not my idea .. I am not really trying to blame anybody either.

Perhaps you are right that nobody would travel to see a Davis Cup, and that holding it at Delhi or Kolkata is as good as anywhere else, as far as the fans are concerned .. OK, then you win .. But I have a lot more belief in the inside spirit of my fellow Indians, who rarely get enough chance to exhibit it because of the fatalistic and negative "nah-it-ican't-be-done" thinking .. I tend to believe that we need to think spiritedly and try some of these things to see what would happen, rather than to just keep doing what we do and say that "nothing else would work"!..  Imagine a few tennis clubs/academies in Chennai pooling together a bunch of young tennis trainees and taking them in 2 or 3 buses to Bangalore to see the first Davis Cup there in two decades (play the Frejus match tapes on TV during the trip. Free tickets from KSLTA and autographs from Leander given as extra incentive :)) .. Those are the kids who would paint tricolors on their faces and show up with drums at a Davis Cup in Chennai in a few years time .. Try organizing some trips from places near Kolkata or Delhi, and you will hear all the excuses like "exam after this weekend", "we can't do it this time, but kindly get back to us next year" etc etc.  THAT is the problem I am talking about .. You may think I am naive in my optimism, sitting here in California, but that's fine - I can take it .. Let us build some enthusiasm into these events we do, and try to get a lot more people involved .. Let us start thinking "outside the box" a bit .. And I don't want to hear that these things "can't be done" .. And stop first worrying that I am giving some "divisive" idea.

If a German guy in our fan club can take his car, paint tricolors all around and "Go Leander! Go Mahesh" all over, drive hundreds of miles to Netherlands and park it outside Ijssenhallen, Zwolle, for all the world to see, just to support our team playing in a Davis Cup, we in India can certainly do much more than what we now do when our national team plays .. But Florian is the type who goes and DOES IT, rather than sit and talk about what cannot be done.

Yes, the state tennis units need to move first to take the matter to AITA .. Local sponsors need to be organized .. But I would think it would be easier to do it at places like Bangalore or Mumbai which have not had a tennis event worth a damn for ages, than in Delhi where AITA and DLTA have to keep finding sponsors for all the events .. I hope some brave souls would come forward with some ideas on how we can have more options in Davis Cup about where we play.  I am bored to death about seeing the Delhi-Kolkata-Delhi shuttle that we run.

Also, I am still waiting to hear if there are ANY grasscourts anywhere in the south and west .. If not, let us make a few courts or temporarily convert football/cricket fields and do it, if we are not willing to risk playing on hard courts even against a team like UZB .. I am not arguing for us to lose our grass advantages,  though I would like to see us take some calculated risks and see what would happen, to bring more depth into our own options.  That is a secondary point though .. I would rather do grasscourt Davis Cups in other places first  ..

Also, a discussion has started on grass vs clay vs hardcourts in our forum .. Take a look.

Mar 7 Notes

We were worried a little earlier today that Shikha Uberoi was still not recovered from the little thigh problem she had at Hyderabad and might have withdrawn from the Tier-I Indian Wells (Pacific Life Open) qualies, as her spot was played by somebody else in the scheduled morning match .. Had good news later, as it turned out that the draw was redone and Shikha, who was the highest ranked unseeded player at #147 had taken up the spot of the 9th seed Pastickova who seems to have withdrawn (they redo the draw if a seed withdraws after the draw is made, if it is before the matches start - in that case they introduce an extra seed) .. So Shikha ended up as the 25th seed!

Well, Shikha Uberoi proceeded to absolutely wallop Saori Obata (JPN,164), 63 61 .. Saori, who was as high as #39 a year back, was on a terrible streak of 12 losses in a row late last year (including that loss to Shikha at the USO qualies), but had just started playing a little better, reaching a $50K semifinal in Minnesota a week back and seemed to be getting out of her funk .. Well, Shikha did not allow her any room for anything today though .. Up next for Shikha in the second and final round of qualifying is the 24th seed Ekaterina Bychkova (RUS,146) ..

Parul Goswami qualified into the $10K in Benalla, Australia .. After a first round bye, [Q2] (2) Parul Goswamy (IND,870) d. Emelyn Starr (AUS,NR) 64 67(8) 61 .. [Q3] d. Elizabeth Walker (AUS,NR), 64 64 .. [Q4] d. Alison Bai (AUS,NR), 64 36 61 .. In the main draw, the matchups for Indians are - [R1] (Q) Parul Goswami (IND) vs Nicole Kris (AUS) .. [R1] Sai Jayalakshmy (IND) vs (6) Christina Horiatopoulos (AUS) and [R1] (2) Rushmi Chakravarthi vs (WC) Marija Mirkovic (AUS) .. In doubles, [R1] (2) R.Chakravarthi/ S.Jayalakshmy vs Qualifiers TBD .. [R1] P.Goswami/ Eriko Mizuno (JPN) vs Julia Vorobieva (RUS)/ Meng Yuan (CHN) ..

By the way, I have not said much about Somdev Dev Varman, but if you have not been reading the forum thread on him, he is now the highest ranked freshman player in the US colleges , at #13 .. There were a couple of other freshmen player rated above him in the previous human polls/rankings, but last week the computer rankings became active  (the computer rankings start only after about half of the college season is done and the conference season start) .. With the number of top-ranked player that Somdev has effortlessly beaten, there was no question that he is the best new entrant in US colleges this year .. To emphatically prove the computer right, Somdev also happened to beat in straight sets the second highest ranked freshman, #19 Poerschke of Baylor University in a big match-up of the top two ranked college programs in the US .. Baylor is #1 and  Somdev's University of Virginia is #2 .. Go Buji! .. I will leave a note or two here, so that people won't forget the biggest hope in our next line of players (along with Karan) .. Buji had won the Kolkata futures on clay last year, as you may remember .. Of course, due to college tennis, he will not be able to defend his title when the Kolkata futures is done next week.

My note below about grass courts and Davis Cup not moving to the south or west India in some two decades, touched off a bit of a long discussion in the Davis Cup thread in our forum .. You may want to take a look .. I said that the last Davis Cup which weas held away from the north and east "belt" was at Bangalore in 1985 .. There is also an interesting/amusing post from the "Prof" about how that tie against Sweden went - about how grasscourts were prepared in one week flat at Bangalore, at Vijay Amritraj's insistence .. Turned out to be a disaster, but I do think a grasscourt can be made in Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderbad or Chennai, if needed .. Why don't we consider doing that for the tie against Uzbekistan in eight weeks? .. I also remember the Vadodara challenger in 1998, which was held by Jaideep Mukherjea without much notice (perhaps 6 weeks?) on a cricket field or something that was converted for tennis, if I am not mistaken .. Or get some resort down south or at Goa or somewhere to put some three grass courts in and get some mileage out of hosting a Davis Cup .. Any number of options are there .. There needs to be some interest in the tennis circles to do it .. As I said in the forum, I would like some kids in Bangalore or Mumbai to get a chance for an Autograph from "Leander Paes, captain, India" .. Delhi tennis fans don't even seem to show up for Davis Cup - I must say I was mad, hearing about there being just some school kids in the stands for Prakash's and Harsh's terrific matches last Friday .. Kolkata fans also have had more than their share of fun as well, though they still show up at South Club .. Come on, let us be fair to the fans in the South! .. I am not trying to bring in regionalism (well, may be I am .. if so, be it .. Unfair is unfair, and somebody has to speak up) .. This is all really not directed at AITA - it is tough for them to get this done all by themselves .. Somebody has to get the courts up somewhere else, if it has to be grass .. So, it is also for everybody else to start thinking properly and thinking outside the box a bit to try to bring in some variety into the Davis Cup ties and some excitement at the venues .. How can we do it?

Let us drop the "it is not done, so we won't think of doing it" attitude .. I certainly would like the movers and shakers in Indian tennis to stop forgetting the fact that it has been two decades since we moved much away from the grass-belt up north (Jaipur, Chandigarh,Delhi, Lucknow,Kolkata).

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on Mar 07 ..

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