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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for week ending on Apr 20, 1998

(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index)

Apr 20 Note-2

The round-2 doubles match for LP/MB at Monte Carlo will be on Wednesday at the earliest. Their opponents will not be decided till Tuesday evening, which is when the Sampras/Annacone vs Albano/Corretja match is scheduled on the center court. Gives them a couple of days to practice on clay that way. Ivanisevik/Rosset seem to have withdrawn, and been replaced by the lucky losers Alonso/Lapentti. I have updated the draw in the last note with that and the qualifiers ..

Nirupama Vaidyanathan is the 4th seed at the $25K Espinho Challenger at Portugal this week. She plays the lucky loser, Gisela Riera (#333, Spain) in the first round. The match may be as late as Wednesday for her too, as it is not listed in the Tuesday schedule there (or, it has been played today and I have not received the results yet .. probably not, as the final round of qualifiers were today and they won't make the lucky loser come back and play the first round rightaway) ..

I have not seen a complete rank-list posted at the ATP site yet, but the top-100 list does not include LP, so he has not cracked top-100. May be around #103. MB moved up to #7 in doubles, as Vacek lost a few points. LP stays at #9.

Apr 20 Note-1

Here is the doubles draw at the $ 2.2M Monte Carlo Super 9 ..

 1-T.Woodbridge/M.Woodforde  vs Bye                      \
   D.Adams/W.Ferreira        vs C.Suk/J.Tarango          / \
   T.Kronemann/D.MacPherson  vs D.Roditi/F.Wibier        \ / \
 7-M.Damm/J.Grabb            vs A.Kitinov/P.Vizner       /    \_
 2-Y.Kafelnikov/D.Vacek      vs Bye                      \    / |
WC-A.Gaudenzi/T.Muster       vs WC-A.Agassi/P.Korda      / \ /  |
   L.Lobo/J.Sanchez          vs Q-S.Dosedel/A.Olhovskiy  \ /    |
 5-J.Bjorkman/N.Kulti        vs LL-J.Alonso/N.Lapentti   /      |_
 6-E.Ferreira/R.Leach        vs Q-T.Johansson/T.Nydahl   \      |
   N.Broad/P.Norwal          vs T.Kempers/Oosting        / \    |
   P.Albano/A.Corretja       vs WC-P.Annacone/P.Sampras  \ / \  |
 4-M.Bhupathi/L.Paes         vs Bye                      /    \_|
 8-D.Johnson/F.Montana       vs P.Galbraith/B.Steven     \    /
   G.Kuerten/M.Philippoussis vs T.Carbonell/F.Roig       / \ /
   D.Orsanic/F.Santoro       vs J.Eagle/A.Florent        \ /
 2-J.Eltingh/P.Haarhuis      vs Bye                      /

It's about as strong a field as it gets in doubles.. 14 of the top-16 teams in the current ATP team rankings are here (Stark/O'Brien and Bjorkman/Eltingh are the others) .. Also, 26 of the top 30 doubles players are playing, not to mention even Sampras and Agassi playing doubles .. This is the first time in 98 that Pete is playing doubles .. he played doubles with Henman at some one tournament last year .. Same with Agassi. He played doubles in two tournaments last year .. Bjorkman and Kulti are back together for the first time this year .. Bjorkman had played with Eltingh, Rafter, etc this year (with some great results), and experimented in a couple of tournaments with his old friend Jan Apell (wonder if they gave up already ? .. They were a terrific pair a couple of year back before Apell's injury). Kulti did not do too well with Tillstrom, Black, etc .. Anyway, the lower half of the draw with LP/MB looks a bit tougher than the Woodies's half.

Apr 19 Notes

The Monte Carlo Draw is out. LP/MB are the 4th seeds, with Woodies at 1, Eltingh/Haarhuis at 2, and Kafelnikov/Vacek at 3 .. LP/MB is on the Eltingh/Haarhuis half of the draw. Only these 4 seeds have a first round bye there (28 team draw) .. LP/MB, if they win their round-2 game is expected to meet the 6th seeds Ferreira/Leach in the QF. More interesting is their round-2 opponents - those would be the winners of the Sampras/Annacone vs Albano/Corretja first round match ! .. Hmmm.. when did Sampras last play doubles in an ATP tournament, I wonder .. Paul Annacone ?? .. Very interesting .. They are a wildcard team. Albano/Corretja is also a very good team, and one which would have been better to avoid on clay. Not an easy draw for LP/MB, but hey, this is one of the more prestigious Super 9 events, so you have to expect tough matches. More later, on the draw.

I think Nirupama is supposed to be at the $25K Espinha challenger in Portugal. The draw will be out only Monday evening there.. Will confirm about Nirupama if they fax us the results from there ..

Apr 18 Note-2

Check out the brand-new (long-promised) Mahesh Bhupathi Points & Results page .. Still need to clean up a couple of small things in there, but I thought it was long over due, so there it is ! ..

Mahesh's good friend, Peter Tramacchi won the Vadodara challenger today, beating Anthony Dupuis, 7- 6 (7-1), 6-7 (3-7), 6-3 .. Reportedly, Dupuis just did not have the stink in his serve and the quickness in his legs today as he had yesterday against Leander .. Great trip to Vadodara for Tramacchi who will now move up from 150+ to closer to 125 with this. Gotta run now; more later. The Vadodara final results are here.

Apr 18 Note-1

Has Leander got back into the top-100 ? .. Not sure. Probably not, but there is actually a chance for him to get back in there. Based on points to defend this week, Lionel Roux, Johan Van Herck and Marcelo Craca are three players who could fall out of top-100 with LP coming up to #99 or #100 .. A couple of guys outside top-100 but currently with more points than LP's next week total of 462 (Vicente and Prinosil) also have some good points defend (at least about 25 and 30 respectively). Some other guys in the 100-115 range could have done well this week and could go above LP, though .. It is certainly not easy to guess the position exactly, but I am looking for a #99 through #102 position for LP next week. Anyway, LP is not going to play singles for the next 3 weeks (may be 4, if he decides not to play quals at the Italian Open 4 weeks from now), and so his ranking will now depend solely on what others do. His point total will not go down for the next 7 weeks (till after the FO, where he has 26 pts to defend from last year) ..

Apr 17 Note-2

Sorry for the rather late update today .. busy day at work. Hope everybody saw the score update on the Leander page. LP lost 6-7 (5-7), 4-6 to Anthony Dupuis .. All reports are that Paes wasn't playing a bad match; he was completely taken off his game-plan by somebody serving 85% and hitting 12 Aces. Leander only had one double fault in the match and generally was playing hard to win, but just could not get his game going, as the Frenchman would not let him get into any rythm. There must be something to Dupuis' sudden grasscourt exploits (after not having played on grass for 2 years!), as he has taken out the #3, #5 and the #1 seeds in a row now. Yes, sometimes tennis players do go through such hot-streaks .. Tramacchi is the other finalist. See the Vadodara results page.

Here is what SK John of Indian Express thought : .. Dupuis was not just quick, he was like lightning and if somebody had to catch the Indian a step slower on the volley he had to have some strength on his legs .. In a tournament where he had already claimed two seeds, the top seed was just another lamb to slaughter. Dupuis was the predator who feasted on his amazing 85 per cent first serve percentage and unbelievable volleys that it seemed that he was lying when he said he has not played on grass for long .. There was not even a fleeting moment when it looked like Paes would take the match away. Dupuis' was simply unbeatable on the day when Paes won just six points on the Frenchman's serve in the first set and nine in the second set, four of which came in the final 10th game of the match .. "He was in the zone,'' Paes aptly summed up the match. "I couldn't get anywhere on his serve and he was acing me all over the place.'' It was not as if Paes played badly. He played as well as the Frenchman allowed him to ..

S.Kannan of the Hindustan Times had similar opinions: .. Not even in his wildest dreams, would Leander have expected to run into someone serving so big on grass. More than the raw power, it was Dupuis' variety, puffing Leander away to one corner or firing into his body, that did the Indian in .. In previous matches, Leander had never faced someone with such an intimidating serve, solid shots from the rear and the heart to attack at the net .. A good return of serve was imperative to tackling the Frenchman, even if he were playing a grasscourt tournament for just the second time. But Leander could not get it going and it was hard to believe Dupais had last played on grass in the Wimbledon qualifiers three years ago .. one could see Dupuis was not trying his luck as a baselines, but a serve-and-volley journeyman matching one of the world's best grasscourt players. The sheer ability to play freely and not worry about Leander's ranking made it very easy for Dupuis ..

So LP ends his own hot streak of singles play with a 14-5 record in 7 weeks .. 2 lossses to top-10 players (Rafter, Bjorkman), 2 losses to #300+ players (Kaneko, Dupuis), one loss to a top-200 player (Jabali), and 8 wins over players in the #80 through #200 range (Hernandez, Huet, Solves, Calatrava, Carlssen, Salzenstein, Golmard, Solves) .. 200 points racked up in those 7 weeks (he had 280 points in the 12 months preceding that !!) from 5 tournaments, which also included an injury rehab period, a missed Davis Cup, and an ATP world series doubles title .. Pretty eventful .. He can take some rest now (actually he can enjoy a bit of the Monte Carlo fun).

Apr 17 Note-1

I found out this news a bit late. Nirupama Vaidyanathan was indeed at the $107K Tier-4 WTA Makarska event in Croatia, this week. She was the 4th seed in the qualifiers, but lost in round 2 to Virag Csurgo (#226) of Hungary, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, after beating an unranked wildcard girl named Maslesa in the qualifier first round, 6-0, 6-1 .. Pity that she would have been one of the three lucky losers if she had pulled off that qualifier round-2 win, even if she had lost the final round of quals.. She was also in the doubles draw with Rebecca Jensen, but lost in the first round to Maria Fernanda Landa (Arg) and Marlene Weingartner (Ger), 2-6, 3-6 .. Niru has been in a funk over the last 4-5 weeks, losing some very close matches, missing the main draws by the skin of her teeth, and suffering a back strain last week on top of all that .. Hope she is not feeling a lot of pressure now, with all the exposure after the Australian Open, and the burden of being the rather well-known Indian #1 and path-breaking woman pro from India .. Last year when she kept winning, there was not much publicity and she was enjoying herself. It may take a while, but everyone's opinion is that she is a strong woman who will get over the recent funk soon. Go Niru .. According the schedule she had told me earlier, she will be at a challenger in Portugal next week. Not sure where in Portugal (they have 2 or 3 ITF challengers during this month in Portugal), but will try to find out.

Awaiting news on Leander's semifinal match at Vadodara today ..

Apr 16 Note-2

Leander plays Anthony Dupuis on Friday in the semifinal .. Dupuis has pulled two big upsets in a row, against #3 Oleg Ogorodov in round-2 and then against #5 Eyal Ran in the QF .. He won't be easy, but Leander's confidence is sky-high, based on all newspaper reports .. Here is what Sarda Ugra of The Hindu had to say: .. (Paes) even went so far as to say, "if I play like this for the rest of the week, I don't think anyone has a shot.'' Brave words from a brave player but he qualified his words adding, "but it is one thing to say it and quite another to be able to do.'' .. hey, you can do it, LP ! .. Tramacchi is in the semifinal of the singles and the final in doubles too .. Tramacchi and Mirnyi, ranked #1, face Wakefield and Whitehouse who upset the #2 seeds Groen/Ogorodov in the semis today. As for Prahlad Srinath, it seems he had triple set points in the tiebreaker of the second set and really let it go with a sudden attack of nerves ..  He was playing well enough to give Tramacchi serious trouble, had it gone to the 3rd set .. Oh well, he has been improving in leaps and bounds lately (coming up from near 1000 to around #465 in 6 months flat this time, though he had been ranked around 600 in the past once), and he will learn from this too.

Still waiting to hear definite word on Mahesh' schedule after Monte Carlo. He also may be taking time off with LP, the week after Monte Carlo .. He had said that he might be at the German Open Super 9 two weeks after next (second week of rest for LP), but not sure if that has changed now that he is still in need of some serious singles points. The Jerusalem challenger is also probably three weeks from now, and perhaps he can play singles there before going to Rome for doubles with LP at the Italian Open .. I'm unsure of Nirupama's whereabout for now, too. She must be getting to Portugal for the $25K challenger there next week .. Nothing else for now..

Apr 16 Note-1

Leander beat Mose Navarra, 6-4, 6-4 .. Gives him 30 points here for reaching the semifinals. That takes his point total to 462 which is a career high (the previous was 461 that he had for one week right after the US Open last year, when he reached a #98 ranking). His ranking now is right around #100, and he should break top-100 for sure with one more win. Prahlad lost to #2 seed Peter Tramacchi, 1-6, 6-7(6-8), but it was still a great tournament for him. The 3rd QF match was won by Jan Krejci (ranked in the low 1200s but he played qualifiers and has pulled a bunch of upsets), over Wesley Whitehouse. Haven't seen the news of the remaining QF match today, between #5 seed Eyal Ran and Anthony Dupuis (I believe LP will play the winner of this match in the semi tomorrow, but not sure of that).

Now that he has raised his rank quite a bit, LP is assured of a direct entry to Wimbledon, 3 weeks after the French Open. He is sure to get entries into the two weeks of grass tournaments before Wimbledon. Queens during the week after French Open, and then the sHertogenbosch (old Rosmalen) tournament. Queens will not be a problem as there are three tournaments that week .. The direct entry closed at about #95 at Rosmalen last year and LP had to win through qualifiers, but he should possibly make it in directly there this year. He should also have no problem getting into the Newport Hall of Fame grass tournament (possibly as a seed again), the week after Wimbledon .. As for immediate plans, he should be taking a 2 week break in Florida after the Monte Carlo doubles next week, and then playing at the Italian Open Super 9 at Rome, followed by St.Poelten, if he has made it into the FO draw and doesn't have to play quals. That will be the two weeks of clay preparation before the French Open. Things looks much clearer when the ranking gets up into the top-100 ! ..

Apr 15 Note-2

"Grass is for Cows" is Marcelo Rios' favorite line ("Grass is best for Capriati" is a Jay Leno line too, but I digress :-)).. The few Spaniard top-100 players who skipped Wimbledon last year and played in a clay challenger would agree.. OK, fine.. then LP is a really hungry cow .. He completed the final set of his round-1 match aginst Barry Cowan, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, then returned later to graze some more grass and finished off Jim Thomas, 6-2, 7-5 .. Then there was the big surprise .. Prahlad Srinath, who feels the same way as Rios about grass, winning his biggest match and reaching a $50K+H challenger quarterfinal for the first time .. He beat Marcus Hilpert, 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-3 .. LP and PS get 15 points each for reaching the QF .. This pushes LP closer to top-100. He needs two more wins to be sure of cracking top-100. One more win may place him at #101 or something. As for PS, his total goes up from 45 to 60 .. Ranking goes up from #539 to about #465.. That is a career high ranking for him (the current #539 itself is a career high, by the way), and will make it possible for him to qualify into a lot of $25K challengers. He faces #2 seed Peter Tramacchi (#155) next. Not an easy opponent, but Tramacchi seems to have played about five or six 3-setters in a row starting from the Chennai qualifiers, and has been giving chances to all his opponents, though he always seems to pull off the win .. Go Prahlad .. As for, LP, he gets Mose Navarro of Italy (#313) next .. Navarro upset the #8 seed Filippo Veglio today .. Check out the Vadodara Results page.

Here are some comments (excerpts) from SK John in Indian Express on how well LP played today: .."Paes is serving well, stroking the ball fluently and is playing grass court tennis the way it should be played. There were no rallies for him. Just block or chip the return, sprint in and volley .. In the second round, American Thomas had a big first serve. But most of them landed in places where it should not have. Paes just relished the match and soon walked out to the practice court for a session with Bob Carmichael .. "Nobody has really challenged my serve so far,'' Paes said. "I don't think those playing here know how to return on grass. In fact, I lost serve just once in two matches.'' ..

S.Kannan of Hindustan Times (a big Paes fan and a member of this fanclub, who is also LP's worst critic when he doesn't play well) makes similar observations .. (excerpts) : Everything seems to be going right for Leander .. Above everything else, he was able to say: ''My shoulder feels good." Leander Paes is clearly on a roll. Against Jim Thomas he played near-perfect tennis. With the speed at which he was running through his service games, Thomas never had a chance ... When asked why he struggled against Cowan in the first round, he attributed it to not having played a left-hander in a long time. On his recovery from tendonitis, Leander said he 'felt good' and would be going back to the rehabilitation centre after the Monte Carlo event next week. ''I do not really feel any discomfort now." ..

About Prahlad, Kannan says : If you talk to Prahlad Srinath for even two minutes, he would give the impression of having attained nirvana. ''I don't worry about results, don't put pressure on myself about having to win or lose, don't worry about rankings," he says .. But when he is on court, he obviously plays with a single purpose to win .. This is by far his best performance on the ATP Tour and he admitted being happy ..''After the Davis Cup tie I was not even expecting to come here... Only when I came to know I would get a wild card did I change my mind," said Srinath, who was smiling that his best result had to come on a surface that he does not like. Sport is a great mystery, where sometimes all questions cannot be answered about best surface and best event. But in Srinath's case, one thing is for sure: He has gained so much in confidence after taking just one set off Andrea Gaudenzi in the Davis Cup .. ''After playing so well against a top 100 player, I realised I was not too far behind, and can catch up," he said .. Hey, at least we gained something out of that trip to Italy ! ..

By the way, forgot to mention the new ATP rankings this week. LP is up to #111, which may be just outside where the FO direct entry closes at first, but he should make it in after a couple of guys withdraw, before the quals start in 4-5 weeks .. MB is at #291. The team ranking has gone up to #2 and the individual doubles rankings remain the same. On the women's side Nirupama stayed at basically the same rankings as in the last week.

Apr 15 Note-1

Hope everybody saw the scores posted at the Leander and Mahesh pages from the Vadodara Challenger yesterday (Do remember to check those pages for score updates first .. The notes may be late here, but the scores normally do go up as soon as they become available, on their hompages .. a reminder.).

Prahlad beat Mahesh 2-6, 7-5, 7-5 .. Leander was struggling a bit, at 6-4, 3-6, when bad lights stopped play yesterday, against Barry Cowan (#310) of England. Cowan is a good grass player, but LP is among the best on that surface. Hope he would figure out how to beat Barry today (wednesday) when the play the final set. If he does, then he faces Jim Thomas of the US in the second round. See the Vadodara Results page ..

Not such a big surprise that Prahlad beat Mahesh (he had beaten him once in 4 attempts before, at the SAF games finals a couple of years back, which was really the first time that people noticed Prahlad) .. It is somewhat of a surprise that he beat him on grass. Prahlad is a stylish baseliner who likes clay much more. But then again, contrary to popular perception, Mahesh is *not* at his best on grass either. Anyway, it was 6-2, 5-7, 5-7 for Mahesh. MB himself said later that Prahlad played a great game, and he had never seen him return as well as he did yesterday. It was nice to hear that Prahlad's Davis Cup captain (Jaideep Mukherjea) and Davis Cup coach (Enrico Piperno, who is Mahesh's personal coach) were the first to congratulate Prahlad after the win. "Have faith, man!", apparently Rico Piperno told him. Yes, it's of course very good news that the Indian #3 has got a good win to boost his confidence. He has the game, and it's the mental confidence part that sometimes requires careful boosting. Go Prahlad ! .. But what is sad is that Mahesh is in really bad trouble as far as his singles points are concerned. This would have been a golden opportunity to pick up some points. He has to now fight out at the big events to make sure he can get into the qualifying draw for FO (unless they give a wildcard into the quals or something, which is possible, due to his doubles ranking, and he being the mixed doubles champion last year). he basically needs some 40 points from somewhere in a hurry to get back to the upper 200 rankings. MB has a ton of points to defend in summer also, due to the 4 qualifyiers that he advanced through and got bonus points at, last year, and then the 40+ points he got in July at the LA Infinity.

MB is obviously getting bothered by hamstring and abdomen injury problems. He didn't give that as an excuse yesterday, and gave all credit to Prahlad .. classy move, but MB really is not in his best shape now.

Kannan Srinivasan reported in Hindustan Times yesterday something that is surprising. LP/MB has made a snap decision to play at the Monte Carlo Super 9 next week. At first I thought they were crazy to do that, but then felt it makes some sense. They will be one of the 4 top seeds (out of 28 teams) getting byes in the first round there, and need to play only 4 rounds to get 400+ points (370 tournament pts plus bonus) and share $150K in prize money (if they win the title). More importantly, they can basically defend the points from Prague challenger, Prague Open and the Jerusalem challenger last year (about 290 total pts) and do not have to worry about doubles for a while. It will also get them closer to the top-5 rankings and challenge for the top spots soon in team and individual rankings. They both need rest and I hope they will take 2 or 3 weeks off, after this. Four rounds of doubles does not involve all that much of strain if they aren't playing singles (which they can't, as they both will miss the main draw of size 56, and can't get up there for quals this weekend). They may feel that they are in sync in doubles for now, after playing last week, and have a better chance to win something now, than later after their rest period, when they will need a bit of match play to get back in sync. Monte Carlo is a good place to hang out too, and they haven't been there in a while .. Nah, that can't be the reason, can it ? .. :-)

Apr 14 Notes

No news yet on the Vadodara challenger matches today .. Wonder if any of the press folks from the fanclub are up there yet .. Funny that the ATP website does not list it in the calendar for this week (ATP has done that occasionally, especially for tournaments that are put together in the last minute). There was an interesting report that eight Vadodara Ranji cricket players were given a crash course last week and are linesmen for this challenger ! .. It is at the same IPCL cricket ground where a one-day international was played last week, and the courts were made in a big hurry .. Hope to hear the scores of the LP and MB matches soon..

Anand Philar of Indian Express (whose "what would be better than Becker winning it" line was criticized here earlier) had some rather sharp comments on the Chennai tournaments yesterday .. Excerpts : "..Hopefully, the organisers in future will take care to invite players of current standing, like Patrick Rafter who, though not fully recovered from a bout of virus infection, lifted the Open with a truly classy performance. But, from the marketing point of view, Rafter is no Becker. However, it would be unbecoming if quality is sacrificed in the name of ``packaging'' the event ... If one scratches the surface of sentiment, it will become obvious that with just one top-10 player in the draw, there was a marketing need for a celebrity, even if he was on his last legs, tennis-wise. Thus, a panting and puffing Becker came to Chennai, made the right kind of noises which left just about everyone breathless, played a couple of quality shots and departed after a second round defeat to a comparative non-entity ... Becker's presence cast a shadow on the likes of Rafter and Mikael Tillstrom who, though being a defending champion, was, quite shockingly,kept out of the Centre Court for two rounds for no fault of his. The Swede shrugged off the faux pas by reaching the final before losing to Rafter.." .. Always good to see the press giving sharp opinions on these things, rather than buying all the hype from the organizers ..

On the whole, though, the Chennai tournament was a success .. Hope it attracts an even better field next year. Apparently, it will again be the week after Davis Cup next year, which may keep some players away. The heat and humidity is something that many players do not want to deal with, either .. The tournament director, Brian Cooney, was quoted to be saying that it may only be during the year 2000 restructuring of the next decade's ATP schedule that the tournament dates can be moved to a September date when the climate is much nicer in Madras ( .. it would be nice to have Chennai as part of the Singapore-Beijing-Shanghai sequence of Asian events, though those three are all on indoor carpet). It will be in April for the next two years. At least it is there to stay !

Apr 13 Note-2

The Vadodara challenger has started. LP is #1 seed. MB is #7 seed. LP plays Barry Cowan of England, and MB plays wildcard Prahlad Srinath in round 1 tomorrow. Poor Srinath. He can't get a break. He has beaten MB once before though. Sad to see that matchup. If sandeep Kirtane had any complaints about not being taken for Davis Cup based on Fazal's great show in just ONE futures tournamant, he can't complain now. Fazaluddin beat Sandeep in round 1 today in 3 sets; but apparently it was a very even match that sandeep could have won too. So in the last two matches he has played in India, Fazal has beaten Prahlad (ITF futures final) and Sandeep Kirtane .. Hope he can do something against the #2 seed Peter Tramacchi whom he faces in round 2. All the seeds won today (Tramacchi, Ran, Nainkin) .. Fazal gets 8 more points to add to the 12 he has .. His ranking makes another jump from ~800 to ~700 now. Vijay Kannan, the 3rd wildcard, with Fazal and Sandeep, lost to Anthony Dupis of France today ..

The newspapers are reporting that Wesley Whitehouse got the 4th wildcard but I doubt that. He has a rank around #475 and must have made the direct entry (they did tell him that they would give him a WC to play there, when he was getting ready to return home, but I don't think they used the WC. I doubt ATP allows 4 wildcard in a 32-draw tournament. It is almost always 25 direct + 4 qual + 3 WC .. They do allow what is called a special exempt, the rules on which I am not sure of. He may have qualified for one like that. Then Indians can't complain, as I doubt guys like Harsh Mankad who may have a beef on this would qualify for a special exempt as they did not play in Madras.. I know I am confusing all of you with this, but I think they can only give 3 wildcards and those went to Fazal, Sandeep and Vijay Kannan). If AITA did give Whitehouse a wildcard instead of Harsh Mankad, I miss the logic in that, though. Sarda Ugra of The Hindu did raise the issue in her article .. Happy to see the media noticing these things .. But AITA at least did something in giving Fazal, Sandeep and Vijay a chance .. Let us not make them the dog to flog, for the crimes committed at Madras which AITA had no part in .. Check out the Vadodara page for scores, etc.

Apr 13 Note-1

Nirupama Vaidyanathan was supposed to be at the Croatian WTA tournament at Makarska this week; however, she doesn't seem to be there. The direct entry closed at #149, so she would not have made it in without the qualifiers, as she is #172. She was in Dubai only till Friday morning, so she could have got up there for the quals .. Just saw the list of 4 qualifiers and 3 lucky losers at Makarska, and Nirupama is not among them. Since she would have been a top few seeds there in the qualifiers, I would think she must not have reached round-3 of quals, even if she played there (or she would probably be one of the lucky losers). Wonder if the back strain she had, which forced her to concede the doubles 3rd round match at Dubai last week (while leading by a set) is serious .. Will try to find out more and report later.