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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for week ending on Mar 30, 1998

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Mar 31 Note-2

Nirupama couldn't pull an upset over #138 Lilia Osterloh at the Phoenix (Glendale) challenger.. She lost 6-4, 6-4 .. The report I got was that she was in good shape to pull it off, before Lilia came back strong late in both the sets. Niru has reached Florida, and will leave for the Dubai tournament (next week) soon. After that she will be in the European clay court circuit, which is where she has traditionally done very well.

Prajwal Hegde of Deccan Herald and Nirmal Shekhar of The Hindu have started reporting from Genoa. The Italians seem to be already celebrating, after hearing of Paes' withdrawal. Funny story from Prajwal, about the immigration guy at the airport looking at her and saying "India has no chance!" .. Come on guys, you are underestimating the fight that Mahesh and Prahlad are capable of. Anyway, MB was a bit outspoken about how nobody has done anything to send the alternate player (Vijay Kannan) up there .. "We can't even play a decent practice doubles match", he said .. He is right .. Rather than sitting around and hoping that Leander would somehow miraculously get his shoulder healed and get there for practice three days after he started his rehab work, they should have immediately made alternate plans. The AITA folks should know that Leander is one who would get there if there is any way he can manage it. After all these years, don't they know that about Leander ? .. Worse still, if somebody had talked to him in detail about the situation, they would have known last Thursday that he just could not go to Genoa .. Captain Jaideep Mukherjea, well-meaning as he is, is partly the culprit. He seemed to have been going by emotions and it was taking too long for him to get used to the reality that Leander was just not going to be playing there .. And AITA waited to see if someone would convince LP to play (.. and it bugs me that they felt somone had to !). Oh well .. but then again, everyone is down about the whole thing, and sometimes these things are hard enough to make people throw up their hands and say "oh, blow it.. we are toast!".. Except for Mahesh and his team, who are there to try and win the damn thing !

Captain Mukherjea seems to be leaning towards getting MB and Prahlad to play the singles and then have MB and Fazal play in the doubles. All the best to them ! GO INDIA!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mar 31 Note-1

This is interesting .. Vijay Kannan, who is the alternate member of the Indian Davis Cup squad, is at Pattaya City, Thailand, playing the ITF Junior (grade-3) Tournament there. We had just heard a couple of days back that AITA was making plans to fly him out to Genoa, now that Leander has withdrawn .. So, who goofed here ??.. Somebody had to take care of telling the alternate stand-by to stand by ! .. Vijay is the #1 seed in the singles there, but rather surprisingly lost the first round match today, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 to Willem Meyer of South Africa. Not sure if he is playing doubles there; otherwise there is probably still time to send the 18-yr old up to Italy, but it may be futile now, as he will get no practice time on the slow red clay there..

On the girls' side, Sheetal Gautam and Shruti Dhawan have advanced to round 2 at Pattaya City .. (12-seed) Gautham Sheethal (Ind) b Orawan Lamangthong (Thai) 6-2, 6-3; (16-seed) Shruti Dhawan (Ind) b Petra Vojtaskova (Cze) 6-4, 6-1 .. (source: The Nation, Thailand)

Mar 30 Note-3

Good news from Arizona.. Nirupama has won the second round of the qualifiers at the $50 Phoenix (Glendale) challenger, beating Pam Nelson (#258) of USA easily, 6-1, 6-4 .. She now has a tough match against #138 Lilia Osterloh in the 3rd round of quals. Lilia is from Stanford University and is the reigning US collegiate singles champion; she was also one of the qualifiers at The Lipton. The final round for the 4 qualifier spots are tomorrow before noon, and the main draw matches start tomorrow afternoon (the qualifiers probably will not play their first round matches till wednesday, I would presume) ..

Our fan club member Rudy Selva reports from Italy (actually, San Marino) that the Indian Davis Cup captain, Jaideep Mukherjea , is quoted in the newspapers there to be saying that he expects Paes to join the team this week, though 70% he won't play .. Mr. Mukherjea may be trying to confuse the Italians a bit in their preparations .. I doubt if Leander can go now..

Mar 30 Note-2

The new ATP rankings just came out. By now everyone has heard that Marcelo Rios has overtaken Pete Sampras at the #1 spot in singles. Something else has happened, that, as usual, many have not noticed ! .. For the first time in a long, long time, the #1 spot on the doubles list does not have a name starting with "Wood" .. Jacco Eltingh is the new #1 doubles player in the world ! .. That means that after spending all the appearance money, the Chennai tournament probably still won't have the top 2 doubles players coming there .. Talk about that tournament being a bit snake-bitten ..

Leander got 17 points from Key Biscayne (5 for quals, 1 for beating Carlsson, 10 for first round, 1 for beating Saltzenstein) .. He moved a couple of spots up to 128 this week. Mahesh has moved up from #247 to #244 .. The doubles rankings remain the same. They were in danger of moving down to #4 behind Eagle/Florent, but they also lost in their first match at The Lipton, and stay behind with 860 points (LP/MB have 864 points..).

Nirupama moved down 3 spots to #173 in singles, and stayed at #176 in doubles in the May 30 WTA rankings.

Mar 30 Note-1

Oh boy.. Gaudenzi is red-hot .. Not good news for India at Genoa ... Gaudenzi won both the singles and doubles titles at the Casablanca ATP tournament. It looks like he is really playing like how he did a few years back before the injuries dropped his ranking a lot. He beat Alex Calatrava in the singles final, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 .. More impressive is that Gaudenzi-Nargiso won the doubles title, beating Brandi-Messori (also of Italy, and one team that hung a loss on LP-MB last year) in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6(4) .. In other words, Gaudenzi is red-clay-hot ! .. Thought we should take note .. In other ATP news, Stark and O'Brien won the doubles title at The Lipton .. That is a promising team, one that I think the US captain (Gullickson) should consider for Davis Cup, over Martin/ Reneberg .. US keeps making mistakes in the doubles team selection, in my view (but what do I know?).

Our fanclub member in Germany, Arunava Chaudhuri, reports about a TV interview with Boris Becker. Becker said he will be playing doubles in the Davis Cup tie at South Africa, and then will be going to Chennai.. So the dude hasn't decided to withdraw yet .. :-) ..

Mar 29 Notes

Nirupama Vaidyanathan won the first round of the singles qualifiers at the $50K Phoenix Challenger today. She beat Elizabeth Schmidt, 6-2, 6-0 .. Piece of cake.. She next plays the winner of the match between Pam Nelson and Christina Triska, tomorrow (but it has been raining there and some matches are all delayed).

Vinod Sridhar continues to be in good form. He beat Manoj Mahadevan easily, 6-0, 6-3 today in the final at the Rs. 1.84 Lakhs Indian Oil Servo tournaments at the Krishnan Tennis Center. He made Rs. 40K and Manoj got Rs 25K .. Good show by both unseeded players .. Vinod had beaten the top-seed Marcus Hilpert earlier ..

There have been some newspaper reports about AITA's Anil Khanna saying that they are still working on Leander to go to Italy and try to play doubles .. He sounded hopeful .. I haven't heard anything like that though .. Will check up .. Leander certainly cannot do even practice tennis now, and needs to rest his arm; I doubt if he would chose to lose rehab days by going to Italy .. Also, AITA is apparently trying to fly out the alternate player, Vijay Kannan, to Genoa. (source: India Daily Online)

Mar 28 Note-3

16-yr old Manoj Mahadevan pulled a big win at the $1.84 lakhs Indian Oil Servo tournament at the Krishnan Tennis Center in Madras today .. He defeated 2nd seed Gaurav Natekar, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(3) in the semis ..  Manoj is looking as good as advertised .. The other finalist is also from Tamil Nadu, Vinod Sridhar who also got a somehwat surprising win over Harsh Mankad, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 .. By the way, wonder what's up with Harsh Mankad ? .. He was considered very promising as recently as last year as a junior. He has hardly done anything in a long time .. Hope he hasn't burnt out already. Here are the complete results from the IOC tournament.

Mar 28 Note-2

Nirupama Vaidyanathan and Sylvia Plischke lost to the British pair, Julie Pullin and Lorna Woodroffe, in the quarterfinals of doubles yesterday at the $25K Houston challenger. She is going to Phoenix and will play the qualifiers for singles starting tomorrow, at the $50K Phoenix challenger. The challenger circuit has become incredibly competitive. There are 11 top-100 players playing at the Phoenix challenger, and the draw closed at #131 !! .. aaaarrghh .. it was around #170 last year, and Niru would have been a direct entry last year with her current ranking. Oh well.. it will be another qualifier for her.

Mar 28 Note-1

Mahesh Bhupathi is leaving for Italy now. He was a bit down after hearing of Leander pulling out, but has all the weight of leading his country now on his shoulders. MB is a tough one; and we should all wish him the best ! It would have been nice if Leander could be there giving him some moral support, but Leander's rehab schedule in Florida may not allow it (He may leave directly to India late next week, but would want to get there and rest rather than make two long plain journeys and go through the chilly weather in Italy when the injury needs careful mending) .. Will try to catch up with Mahesh soon.

Leander's injury is basically a rotator cuff injury, which is similar to the injury that cricketer Javgal Srinath had, but not as serious; however, the injury has caused some tendinitis in his triceps and wrist as well. Basically every extra day of rest helps now. As of yesterday, Leander was having trouble doing some arm exercizes with even a 1 pound weight. The careful rehab sessions will take care of the problems in just a few days, but basically he still needs to find 4 weeks to rest. A few in the fanclub had a chat session Friday night with Leander. Compared to how he sounded when I talked to him right after his decison to pull out, he was in a much more cheerful mood.  Was hoping to also get Mahesh online, but couldn't get hold of him just before he was to leave for Italy. See the chat transcript. This was organized on very short notice (more as a test chat session) and was not advertised on this web site. We plan to do more chat sessions with Leander and Mahesh in the future, and will advertise them here.

At the Servo Oil Tournament (Krishnan Tennis Center) in Chennai on Friday, Vinod Sridhar beat Marcus Hilpert, 6-3, 6-3, Manoj Mahadevan got past Vasu Reddy who withdrew at 4-1 in first set, Gaurav Natekar beat CV Anand, 6-2, 6-3, and Harsh Mankad beat Vishal Uppal, 6-3, 6-1. Semifinals: Mankad vs Sridhar, Natekar vs. Mahadevan.

Forgot to find out what happened to Nirupama's doubles match yesterday; will do that today.

Mar 27 Notes

..Should probably give some news items just to distract all you diehard fans from brooding over Leander having to withdraw from Davis Cup due to the bad shoulder ..

Here is a belated update on what has been happening in doubles at The Lipton .. Well, basically it has been murder and mayhem.. The semifinals are between the 8th and 12th seeds and the 7th and 11th seeds .. The top seeds have all had a terrible time, with the 1, 3 and 4 seeds not going past their first match (The Woodies gave a walkover to Adams/Ferreira in the round of 32, about the same time when 4th seeds LP/MB lost; Second seeds Eltingh and Haarhuis also did not move on). The 3rd seeds, Kafelnikov/Vacek won a couple more matches but were upset by the 11th seeds Broad/Norwal in 3 sets in the quarterfinals. It will be 8-OBrien/Stark vs 12-Knowles/Nestor and 11-Broad/Norval vs 7-Ferreira/Leach in the semis. Who woulda thunk ? ..

There is a tournament going on at the Krishnan Tennis Center (KTC) in Chennai with most of the top players in India playing. Indian Oil Servo tournament, which I assume is an exhibition. 16 players are taking part and they have gone through one round .. The results: [Round-1] 1-Marcus Hilpert d. Ganesh (KTC) 6-0, 6-1; Vinod Sridhar d. Meenakshisundaram 6-3, 6-3; Harsh Mankad d. N Mukundan (KTC) 6-0, 6-2; 4-Vishal Uppal d. Kamala Kannan (KTC) 6-3, 6-1; 3-Vasudeva Reddy d. Vijayendra Laad 6-3, 6-3; Manoj Mahadevan d. Rohan Wadhera 6-4, 7-5; CV Anand d. ????; 2-Gaurav Natekar d. Rajkumar Gopalan (KTC) 6-1, 6-0 (courtesy: Indian Express) .. .. The quarterfinal matchups look interesting: 1-Marcus Hilpert vs Vinod Sridhar, 4-Vishal Uppal vs Harsh Mankad, 3-Vasudeva Reddy vs Manoj Mahadevan, 2-Gaurav Natekar vs CV Anand .. Good to see KTC's and India's top prospect, 16-yr old Manoj Mahadevan getting some experience with the big boys .. The Manoj vs Vasu match should be inetersting in the quarterfinals .. Our old German pal Marcus is still enjoying it in India .. He likes Indian food; hope he has tried some nice mulligatawny soup down in Chennai .. I guess the 18-yr old kid Vijay Kannan also would have been in this tourney, had he not had to be on stand-by for Davis Cup (..and I assume he would be flying up to Genoa, now that LP has withdrawn .. oops .. sorry .. I set out to distract you from that news, right ? .. :-)).

Mar 26 Note-3

I had a feeling it wasn't going to be good news when I talked to Leander a couple of days back. It's been confirmed, from him now. Leander Paes, unthinkable as it seems, will not be playing Davis Cup next week for India. The latest MRIs have shown some damage on his shoulder. These are very minor muscle tears, but are the types that need very careful mending. The doctors' advice is to not risk playing 12 to 15 sets of tennis in three days, which is what Davis Cup requires. He has been asked to take 4 weeks of rest, and at this time he will only get about two. He still expects to be there in Chennai the week after next .. At least, there one can take things one game at a time .. More importantly, he gets 4 extra days of rest, and he gets to stay in Florida and undergo some rehab treatment till late next week (which wouldn't have been possible if if he were to play Davis Cup because he would have had to go rightaway to Genoa and start the practice on clay) .. Very unfortunate timing for the arm trouble to crop up, but that's life ..  This has been a tough decision for Leander, but I think he shouldn't feel that down, as I am sure all his fans and tennis lovers in India wish him only the best and understand why he is doing it, and he certainly has earned the right to take some time off, for all he has done for India in the past, whenever we needed his service ..

The other warrior, Mahesh, who is also a bit banged up, has to rise up to the occasion, and I am sure he will. He is leaving to Genoa very soon. It's a tall order, but Mahesh and Prahlad will have to do it for India. As Leander said, "You can never count anything out, it's Davis Cup".

That's it for now .. Sad day, but there will be better days in the future .. There always are.

Mar 26 Note-2

I just heard some troubling news.. Apparently PTI is reporting in India that Leander has pulled out of the Davis Cup .. I have not had contact with Leander today, and this is UNCONFIRMED as of now. It's 10.30 pm in Florida, and I do not want to wake up Leander .. Will try to see if there is any truth to this, tomorrow morning.

Mar 26 Note-1

Good news. Nirupama and Sylivia Plischke are in the quarterfinals of the doubles at the $25K Houston challenger, after a 6-2, 7-5 win over Geraldine Aizenberg and Katalin Marossi yesterday. They play their quarterfinal doubles match on Friday, against the winner of the match between Eguarova/S.Smith and Pullin(?)/Woodruff(?) ..

Mar 25 Notes

Nothing much to report, except that both the Italians, looking for that #2 spot in the Davis Cup against India, have gone out at the Hassan ATP tournament in Casblanca .. Marzio Martelli lost to Christian Ruud 6-4, 6-4 in round 1 and Davide Sanguinetti lost to Alex Calatrava meekly in the second round, 6-1, 6-1 .. It's the same Calatrava that LP beat at Bangkok, and MB took to three tough sets at Singapore, for comparison purposes, though such limited data imply nothing much by way of conclusions on who plays with enough heart to win in a Davis Cup match .. Well, the good thing is that those two players did not get the kind of extensive singles match practice on clay as they had hoped for, before the Davis Cup; .. and it does not tell the Italian captain Paolo Bertolucci much about whom to pick for the #2 spot behind Gaudenzi (who has reached the quarterfinals at Casablanca) .. It would appear though that based on recent form, Sanguinetti should be preferred.

Mar 24 Note-2

Nirupama Vaidyanathan (#176) is playing doubles with Sylvia Plischke (Austria, #145) at the Houston challenger. They play their first round match tomorrow (Tuesday) against Geraldine Aizenberg (Argentina, #198) and Katalin Marosi (Hungary, #121).  I believe this is the first doubles match Niru is playing since the Australian Open, where she played with Nathalie Dechy for one round.

Mar 24 Note-1

The India Daily Online reports that there will be extensive TV coverage in India, for the Goldflake Chennai ATP Open .. Doordarshan will telecast the matches for a minimum of 14 hours per day, which is tremendous. ESPN cable (I suppose only in India, not outside) will have five hours of action on a 24 hours delay basis ..

By the way, strangely we do not have even ONE member in the fan club from Madras .. Any of you LP-MB fans from Madras who plan to go and see the matches, please email me if you are interested in joining the club and be the onsite reporter for us (of course, our press friends in the fanclub would be there, but possibly may not have easy internet access).

Becker still has not withdrawn from Chennai, but I suppose it's only a matter of time :-) .. Heard news last week that Becker is actually planning to play for Germany in the Davis Cup, the weekend before Chennai, at South Africa. I will be surprised if he takes the trouble of flying down immediately to Chennai.. He might, since some serious "Dhudd" (that is "cash" in Madras..) is involved in terms of apperance money (a few hundred K dollars) ..

The Chennai Open website is at http://www.goldflakeopen.com/ .. Check it out, it's a pretty good site. By the way, I stand corrected on what I said about player bio pages of players there. They had only 6 players (Becker, Rafter, Woodforde, Woodbridge, Tillstrom and Paes) with bio pages there .. Others up to Stanytchev are only listed with no bio pages (I was complaining earlier why they had all those bio pages and not one for Mahesh..). Anyway, they have taken off the Leander Paes bio page, which I had said was really outdated. I guess they will add corrected ones soon, and hopefully one for Mahesh too .. Not a big deal, but I do have a problem with any reluctance on the part of Indians to tout their own players (people in other parts of the world show no such humilty) .. You've got, you flaunt it. You are talking of the #3 ranked doubles team in the world. Flaunt them ! ..

Mar 23 Note-3

LP says it was just a case of two players coming out ready to play them. Black and Grabb were playing so well, he felt they could have beaten them 6-1, 6-1.. They fought off several break points, but it was an uphill struggle all the way. LP felt he and MB were a bit out of sync as they have not played doubles together for 5 weeks in a row, which probably added to the troubles. The good news is that there was no sudden injury problems or anything that caused the loss. The arm hurts but it wasn't particularly worse than it has been for a while for LP. He still needs some rest. He will get a few days now, and he is planning to get to Genoa for Davis Cup only by next wednesday or so. He really needs to rest his arm, and there has even been suggestions that he should consider skipping the Davis Cup altogether.. That's almost unthinkable, not seeing Leander out there for India .. I bet the man will be ready, come next week, putting it all on the line against the Italians.

As for Mahesh, he is fine, but for a nagging abdomen problem he has had a for a little while. He has had some rest now, and he will be taking off to Italy later this week itself. MB pulling off a tough upset is what India really needs, as always (LP should take care of at least one win, and LP-MB, despite the loss today, are still the heavy favorites for the doubles win there).

Talking of Davis Cup, there has been a report from Rudy Selva of our fan club (he is in the Republic of San Marino, the landlocked country inside Italy) that Renzo Furlan, who has been in a prolonged slump for a long time, has pulled himself out of the singles voluntarily, due to bad form. This means that Marzio Martelli and Davide Sanguinetti are in line for the second singles after Gaudenzi. The Italian captain will select one largely based on how they do in the ATP clay tournament in Hassan this week.

Mar 23 Note-2

Terrible news. Leander-Mahesh lost 3-6, 3-6 to Black-Grabb just now. I think this is their worst loss in almost 10 months .. Let's pray it is not LP's arm being in very bad shape. Will find out soon. I have no spirit to type anything more now. More later.

Nirupama is playing doubles with Sylvia Plischke at the Houston challenger, even though she is out from the singles.

Mar 23 Note-1

Bad news from yesterday, on Nirupama .. She lost in the first round of the qualifiers at the $25K Challenger in Houston, Texas, to Marissa Irvin, 6-1, 3-6, 2-6 .. Marissa Irvin from Santa Monica, California, is only ranked #631 in WTA, but is one of the top Juniors in the US (somewhere in the top 30 or so in the world in Junior singles, and #4 in the world in doubles) .. This must be one of the biggest wins Marissa has had and I would have expected Niru to handle her easily .. Oh, well .. She will be at the Phoenix, AZ, challenger next week. That is a $50K challenger, and again she will have to play the qualifiers. I am rather surprised that Niru had to play quals at the Houston challenger (perhaps a lot of the top women who lost in round 1 at Lipton showed up there ?) .. Anyway, getting entries into these women's events have been much tougher than in the men's events (a #170 is sure to be a direct entry, and most probably a seeded player in a $25 Men's challenger, for instance). There are only much fewer challengers on the women's side, and competition obviously becomes fierce for entry. The new WTA rules, in terms of the number of tournaments in the point list, etc., seem to have made things even worse. For instance, the qualifier cutoff at The Lipton for women went up to #159 this year, from #185 last year. Add in the fact that women's tournaments pay less, and rarely have hospitality support (room and expenses) as in almost all men's challengers, and it is a very very difficult proposition for women to manage travelling and playing these competitive challengers. Outside of perhaps the top-100 players in the world, the prize money made is just not enough to support the tour expenses. Most of those in the top-300 have solid sponsorship .. And, we are still begging for sponsorship for the only woman we have got from India in the top-500. It's pathetic; utterly pathetic. Is anyone reading these broken record rants and raves I keep posting here ? ..

Mar 22 Note-3

Sorry for the delay in posting this, but here are the statistics from LP's round-2 match against 7th seed Bjorkman at the Lipton on Saturday:

                              Jonas Bjorkman         Leander Paes
1st SERVE %                               37%                  53%
ACES                                       0                    1
DOUBLE FAULTS                              3                    5
WINNING % ON 1st SERVE PTS.    14 of 20 = 70%       21 of 38 = 55%
WINNING % ON 2nd SERVE PTS.    18 of 33 = 54%       12 of 33 = 36%
WINNERS (INCLUDING SERVICE)               15                   15
UNFORCED ERRORS                           19                   26
BREAK POINT CONVERSIONS         6 of 15 = 40%        3 of 4  = 75%
NET APPROACHES                 14 of 25 = 56%       21 of 40 = 52%
TOTAL POINTS WON                          70                   54

As usual, most of these stats are rather useless. I have always found that the only stat that normally has a correlation to win-loss is the number of points won. Somebody should find some new stats for tennis. Basically, both Bjorkman and Paes had relatively bad games, but Bjorkman was staying ahead throughout and was breaking LP often.. 53% on first serve is very low for LP, who gets up to the 70s normally when he wins. Way too many unforced errors by LP for a 2-set, 17 game match ..

His arm still hurts despite finding no damage after the MRIs. The doctors are advising him to take a 4-week rest, but he is finding it tough to do that. Next week, he has to play the Davis Cup; the week after at Chennai and the following week at Vadodara (grass challenger; those are almost nonexistent in the ATP calendar, and LP probably has some excellent chance for a lot of points from that one).  He may skip 2 or 3 weeks after Vadodara, I would presume. Till then, he has to play gingerly with the hurting arm. By the way, this is not new. He has had it for a while, and still managed to win the Bangkok challenger title a couple of weeks back. He has a lot of points to defend in the summer, but nothing till French Open; so he can take rest in late April and then come back strong for summer... Let's wait and see what he decides.

Mar 22 Note-2

Just added a schedule page for Nirupama Vaidyanathan .. Check it out ! .. Niru is at the Houston challenger this week. Will give more info later on that. She will be at Phoenix, Arizona, next week, and then goes to Dubai, followed by the clay campaign in Europe ..

Talking of Nirupama, the WTA has just brought up a revamped web site (the last one was a slow mess with very unprofessional graphics, and was crashing everyone's browsers; so they decided to have a second revamping within a year; the new site looks nice and nifty on a first look), and they finally have a Bio for Nirupama at that site.  Not much info, but for birthdate and all that. Anyway, this is what they say: "Nirupama Vaidyanathan (vie-dee-in-uh-tan) (IND) (Residences: Coimbatore, India and Luxembourg) Birthdate: December 8, 1976 Birthplace: Coimbatore, India Height: 5' 7" (1.70 m) Weight: 137 lbs.(62 kg) Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand) Status: Pro" .. Wonder where they got that "vie-dee-in-uh-tan" from !?!! ... It is "va-eed-ya-nah-tun", people ! ... Reminds me of an American colleague of mine who remembers the 1960s Wimbledons asking me about "Remana-Thaan" .. Being a "Thaan" myself (Tamilians seem to like that name for us :-)), I found that funny .. Krishnan Sr is of course not a "thaan" .. neither is Nirupama .. By the way, Mahesh is a half-thaan .. OK, so much for BS today .. Serious stuff later.