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LP/MB/NS/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the weeks ending on July 5, 2004
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2004)

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July 5 Notes

Leander and David Rikl play their first round Tuesday night at the Gstaad Swiss Open .. That match will be after the Swiss hero Roger Federer's opening match on center court, which will be preceded by a scheduled "welcome to the wimbledon champion" program .. They gave him a cow last year there .. What would they do this time -- another cow? .. By the way, Lee and David are the defending champs there -- I forgot earlier that this may have been part of the reason why Lee decided to continue with Rikl after Olympics ..

Mahesh and Jonas Bjorkman will probably play only on wednesday at Bastad (Sweden) .. I found this pairing interesting  - they are playing together for the first time, and both of them normally play the left court .. I wonder who is switching side this week .. Probably JB I assume, as MB is way too good on the AD court ..

Great news from the Nottingham challenger .. 4th seed Rohan Bopanna qualified into the main draw with another good win - [Q3] Rohan Bopanna (IND,442) d. David Sherwood (GBR,510), 76(7) 64 .. In the main draw, he plays Lee Childs (GBR,300), on wednesday .. Harsh Mankad (IND,321) got a decent break, as Nenad Zimonjic withdrew and was replaced by Tasuku Iwami (JPN,369) in the draw .. Prakash Amritraj (IND,251) plays David Scherrer (SUI,238) .. Harsh and Prakash play back to back matches tomorrow morning, with Harsh coming back for a doubles match later .. In the doubles draw, [R1] (2) H.Mankad/ R.Bopanna vs Jonathan Marray (GBR)/ Mark Hilton (GBR) .. [R1] R.Bopanna/ M.Ghouse vs (4) jean-Francois Bachelot (FRA)/ Jean-Michel Pequery (FRA) .. [R1] P.Amritraj/ Phillip Petzschner (GER) vs (WC) James Auckland (GBR)/ Lee Childs (GBR) .. RB, MG and PA are not playing doubles on tomorrow .. Prakash managed to squeeze into the doubles draw as the last team with Petzchner .. Good to see the Indian gang doing well there ..

By the way, Prakash just lost 36 points from the Indian satellites last year and his rank has dropped about 31 spots this week .. He still has 35 points to defend in the coming four weeks from last year at the ATP events in Newport, Los Angelse, Indianapolis .. He has a good stretch of challengers now, at Granby in Canada followed by Aptos, Lexington and Denver in the US to make some points and stay within the range for US Open qualies entry.

No news from the qualies at the $25K women's event at College Park, Maryland (USA) for the Uberois and Tara .. The USTA people have not posted any draws/scores, as they are on vacation today due to the US independence day.

Have some really good news to report on how 15 year old Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan did in the u16 tour of Europe with the ITF team .. I completely forgot about this one, till Neil noticed the write-up in the ITF weekly roundup and wrote in the forum .. Jeevan reached QFs and SFs and won doubles titles on that tour and impressed everybody .. I will give details soon -- he reached # 37 spot in the European u16 list the highest rank by any non-European player this year, all from just 5 events..

July 4 Notes

Rohan has picked up two wins and advanced to the final qualies at the Nottingham challenger .. Good show .. [Q1] (4) Rohan Bopanna (IND,442) d. Martin Lee (GBR,599) 64 61 .. [Q2] d. (WC) Rob Searle (GBR) 63 64 .. Unfortunately, Mustafa had to retire at 36 03 against Richard Bloomfield (GBR,529) in the Q1 .. Rohan plays David Sherwood (GBR,510) in the final qualies on Monday .. In the main draw, 5th seed Prakash Amritraj (IND,220) plays Jean-Claude Scherrer (SUI,246) and Harsh Mankad (IND,326) plays Nenad Zimonjic (SCG,359) .. The doubles draw is not out and the main draw matches start only on Tuesday there.  Nothing much else for news today..

July 3 Notes

Next week's doubles draws are out and it is a bit painful to see .. At the € 545K Gstaad ATP in Switzerland, [R1] (1) Leander Paes/ David Rikl vs Lucas Arnold (ARG)/ Martin Garcia (ARG) .. At the € 375K Bastaad ATP in Sweden, [R1] (1) Mahesh Bhupathi/ Jonas Bjorkman (SWE) vs Ervin Eleskovic (SWE)/ Robert Lindstedt (SWE) .. Another opportunity lost for them to play together before Olympics .. I don't know what to say, even though I fully expected that they would not be playing together this week .. Only Toronto and Cincinnati Masters just before Olympics -- those are the only sure events reported everywhere, but I kepty hoping that somehow they would find a way to play a couple more events .. I suppose not .. It is like our two champs have a death wish of some sort, and want to cut it so close with no margin for any error at all anywhere .. I would be the last one to doubt their ability to do it at Athens even if they haven't played any prep match at all together, but why take the chance? .. Why are you putting us through this agony, guys? .. OK, all the best this week - what else can we fans say!

Why does everything in sports have to go through convolutions in an Olympic year for India ("Why do the wheels come off in every Olympics year?", as the irrepressible Prasenjit Basu asks in our forum) .. Same story every time .. Just look at what has happened to our hockey team that looked 8 months back to be better than we have ever had since Kuala Lumpur '74 .. Two losses to Pakistan this week by a combined 4-11 score .. It all hurts everywhere for us Indian sports fans and we are all a nervous wreck right now .. And then we hear that Anju jumped just a 6.41 today .. I think I will need some valium soon, at this rate.

The only good news this week has been that all the Olympics pairs, especially Black-Ullyett and Damm-Suk, lost by the QF round at Wimbledon and none of them created any big waves .. Knowle/ Zimonjic who beat MadMax have now gone on to the finals against the defending champs Bjorkman/ Woodbridge .. Woodbridge is going for his 125th Wimbledon doubles title or whatever - the man owns the place .. But the Austrian-Serbian combination has been a revelation - they beat the ever-so-tough Knowles-Nestor today in the semis ..

Good to see Rohan and Mustafa in the qualifying draw at the $25K+H Nottingham grass challenger in UK .. [Q1] (4) Rohan Bopanna (IND,442) vs Martin Lee (GBR,599) .. [Q1] Mustafa Ghouse vs Richard Bloomfield (GBR,529) .. Sunil Kumar was originally in the alternates list but due to injury last week he has not made the trip to UK .. Harsh and Prakash are in the main draw, which is not out yet.

On the women's side, next week's action is mostly in the US and in Algeria .. At the $25K challenger in College Park, Maryland,  Shikha, Neha and Megha were in the qualifying list as of last monday and Tara was listed in the alternates list for qualies .. Shikha and Neha may have made the main draw; we will see when the qualifying starts tomorrow .. I don't know how bad Megha's injury is (she had withdrawn after a set this week in Texas) .. Sai, Parul etc are in Tlemcen, Algeria for another week of $10K .. Rushmi was to play the $10K Seoul event, but just saw that she withdrew a couple of days back - wonder if she too came down with something - that may explain her surprising upset loss this week (Rushmi is a trooper and would not easily retire in a match; so we never know when she is not 100%) .. She is listed next for the $10K in Ancona, Italy, after two weeks .. Hope she makes it to that one .. The other Indian in action this coming week is Shruti Dhawan, in the main draw of the $10K in Flexistowe, Britain - which is a rare grasscourt event on the women's tour.

July 2 Notes

The terrible week of tennis for Indians ended with three more upsets .. [R3] (9) L.Paes/ M.Navratilova l. (16) Wayne Black (ZIM)/ Cara Black (ZIM), 6-7(7) 7-6(5) 11-13 at Wimbledon .. [SF] (1) H.Mankad/ A.Qureshi l. Marc-Kevin Goellner (GER)/ Alex Lopez-Moron (ESP), 63 36 36 at the $25K+H Montauban challenger in France .. [R1] (1) Jayalakshmy/  Eva Valkova (CZE) l. Joanne Akl (FRA)/ Shelley Stephens (NZL), 67(3) 75 46 at the $10K Tlemcen, Algeria .. I am glad the week is over .. A bit numb that with all the top seeds we had all over the place around the world at various levels, not one player is playing into the weekend .. Oh well, it happens .. Better news awaits us in the future.

At the Delhi satellites, Norikazu Sugiyama (JPN) beat Aqeel Khan (PAK) for the masters title .. Khan and Joshua Goodall tied for second place in the circuit .. See the satellite masters page and the points page.

ITF had announced the Olympics entry list a couple of days back .. Paes-Bhupathi are in the douobles draw .. Extremely high cut in singles and doubles this time with basically all elgibile top players from all the countries participating .. The Olympics gives ATP and WTA points for the first time and that has made a difference .. 400 ATP points for the title, which is quite a bit .. Moreee than what is given at all regular ATP events (350 max), slightly less than at a Masters series event (500 for title) or grnd slams (1000 Max) .. There were hardly any low ranked wildcards or anything this time - basically the men's draw cut was around #75 or so ..

July 1 Notes

No respite from bad news this week .. The top seeds Mahesh and Likhovtseva went down 26 46 to Bob Bryan and Lindsey Davenport today at Wimbledon in the QFs .. Leander and Martina are still playing that never-ending 3rd round MxD match, postponed to a 3rd day now, at 6-7 7-6 10-10 .. Karan Rastogi and Chu-Huan Yi went down 26 26 to the top seeds Brendan Evans and Scott Oudsema in the QF of boys' doubles ..

Megha Vakharia, the top seed at the $10K in Southlake, Texas, retired injured at 2-6 in the first set of the first round this week .. I think something contagious is wafting around the Indians all over the world in sports (man, can you believe the thrashing our hockey team took from Pakitstan?) ..

In the Indian satellite, Ajay lost 46 46 to Pakistan's Aqeel Khan, ensuring that no Indian would be in the top three in these satellites .. Sugiyama is assured of the top spot and 8 bonus points and Aqeel is sure of 4 points for runner up too (he has picked up 29 ATP points, if you can believe that!) ..

Women abroad -- Sai and Parul are done at the QF level at the Tlemcen $10K in Algeria .. [R2] Parul Goswami (IND,1029) d. (7) Mariana Muci (VEN,776), 75 64  .. [R2] (6) Diana Vranceanu (GER,752) d. Geeta Manohar (IND,990) 63 63 .. [R2] (2) Sai Jayalakshmy (IND,537) b. Anastassia Michail (GRE,NR) 63 62 .. [QF] Joanne Akl (FRA,974) d. Parul Goswamy (IND,1029) 61 63 .. [QF] (6) Diana Vranceanu (GER,752) d. (2) Sai Jayalakshmy (IND,537) 61 46 64 .. Doubles at Tlemcen - [R1]  G.Manohar/ Nandini Perumal l.Eva Fernandez-Brugues (ESP)/ Kushcehr Italia (IND), 57 61 46 .. [R1] (1) Jayalakshmy/  Eva Valkova (CZE) - BYE .. [R2] jayalakshmy/ Valkova d. F-Brugues/ Italia, 61 61 .. So, Sai remains in the semis .. At the $10K in Incheon, Korea,  [SF] (1) Rushmi Chakravarthi/ Chin-Wei Chan (TPE) l. Yuki Arai (JPN)/ Remi Tezuka (JPN), 26 46 ..

And here is one more .. Just like Vishal Punna at Canada, Stephen Amritraj (USA), who had come through 4 round qualies went down in the first round at the USA F16 $10K in Chico, California .. [R1] (q)Antonio Ruiz-Rosales (MEX) d. (q)Stephen Amritraj (USA) 75 63 .. [R1] Kean Feeder/Robert Yim (USA) d. (4)Stephen Amritraj/Simon Rea (USA/NZL) 63 76(7) ..

18 year old Parul Goswami gets all the kudos this week .. She did something that none of our other players could do this week .. Pull an upset! .. She is the only ranked Indian who beat a higher ranked player this week! .. The number of first round losses and upsets of our players this week was simply numbing ..  I am sure it will get better ..  It has to .. This week goes down as the worst week in Indian tennis that I remember .. We can only do better from here .. Come on Indians - pull up your socks .. Let's forget this week and let's go!

OK, some minor good news .. Harsh Mankad and Aisam Qureshi reached the semifinal at the $25K+H Montauban challenger with a walkover today ..

June 30 Notes

The terrible week continues in singles for us, as Prakash, Harsh, Vishal.U, Vijay, Vinod, Vishal.P, Rushmi, all went down in various places like Spain, France, Delhi, Canada, Korea .. There were some doubles wins at Wimbledon, especially a dominating win by Karan and Yi, and that's about it for good news .. Mahesh advanced in MxD and Leander's match is postponed but he and Martina are behind after a set.

First, Prakash Amritraj (IND,220) went down to Uros Vico (ITA,207), 57 26 at the $100K+H Cordoba challenger .. It was a close match at first and went with serve till 5-5 when Prakash dropped three service games in a row and it was suddenly 5-7, 0-4 .. He broke back with a bit of fight and got one break back but then dropped serve again to lose the match .. So, he is done with this week and will take off to the Nottingham challenger in UK next week .. Vico is a good player and I guess Prakash has more work to do to win consistently at that level.

Harsh Mankad (IND,326) lost to Viktor Bruthans (SVK,254), 67(5) 26 at the $25K+H Montauban challenger.. The tournament site had the stats of the match and I have posted them in the Mankad thread in our forum (post) .. Despite the scoreline in the second set, this seems to have been a very close match from the stats .. 67 points to 77 points and the 5-6 point swing basically happened in what appears to be two service games in the second set .. The eye-popping stat was that Harsh had 9 aces (eight of them in the first set) today .. That shows that his game has been evolving a bit lately .. He couldn't convert two break points on Bruthans in the first set (which took over an hour) but he did not drop serve in the first set either .. That is unusual for Harsh who tends to get broken but returns well enough to break too .. Bruthans converted both break points he got in the second set and that was the match .. Bruthans, as I said earlier, was on a 7 match win streak with a title last week and so he is in form on clay .. In my view, HM continues to show some improvement even in his losses .. Need to start winning more though.  Harsh still has doubles to do there, before going to Nottingham in UK where he is in the main draw for next week.

Both Prakash and Harsh will be together for the next three week's challengers - both have made entries at $25K+H Nottingham (UK), $50K+H Granby (Canada) and $50K Aptos (California) challengers.

At Wimbledon, Mahesh and Elena Likhovtseva reached the Mixed doubles QF with a 63 76(3) win over Daniel Nestor (CAN) and Lina Krasnoroutskaya (RUS) .. Leander and Martina are down 67(7) 00 when bad light stopped play .. They started badly with LP dropping serve in the very first game, but evened it at 2-2 .. In the tiebreaker, they were up 3-0 with two minibreaks but could not hold ont to that, as it appears that martina was having some trouble with the bad light, making a few mistakes .. She asked the umpire to check the lights and play was stopped there, according to SKS in the forum.

Good news from Karan Rastogi and Chu-Huan Yi, as the 5th seeds beat Juan Pablo Amado (ARG)/ Vahid Mirzadeh (USA), 61 63 to advance to the QFs where they will play the tough second seeds tomorrow - Breandan Evans and Scott Oudsema of USA ..  Neha Uberoi (USA) and Ryoko Fuda (JPN) let a golden opportunity slip through, after leading 63 42 .. They lost 63 67(2) 46 to the 4th seeds Marina Erakovic (NZL) and Monica Niculescu (ROM) ..

It was utter disaster at the Delhi satellite masters today as all three Indians who played foreign players went down .. Vijay lost to Sugiyama (JPN), Vinod to Goodall (GBR) and Vishal lost to A.Khan (PAK) .. Vishal's loss is what really was sad .. For one thing, he lost a chance to top the circuit and get all the big bonuses .. Losing to  Pakistani who has not even played a professional event in 5 years (even if it is really no idndication on how good is), hurts .. Ajay stays alive though, as he effectively got a walkover from Srinath .. See the satellite masters page and the points page .. Vishal and Ajay reached the doubles final and they are assured of the top spot in the double standings, and the 8 bonus for that too - they will both pick up a whopping 43 to 45 ATP points each .. Vinod and Rishi will get the bonuses for the second spot ..

Rushmi Chakravarthi, seeded 4th lost to Junri Namigata (JPN,871), 62 67(4) 46 in the second round at the 410K in Incheon, Korea .. Rushmi and Chin-Wei Chan (TPE) won the doubles QF, 61 64 over Jeon-A Cho and Ji-Sun Ha of Korea and they face Yuki Arai and Remi Tezuka of Japan next

Then there is one more sad result to report .. After all the good work in the qualies, Vishal Punna went down 46 46 to Michal Ciszek (CAN,715) in the first round of the Toronto futures .. He was originally in the doubles draw - but it seems an alternate team replaced that spot .. To make it worse, the alternates have got a first round walkover form the 4th seeds too ..

Haven't seen any news yet from Southlake (Texas,USA) about how top seed Megha is doing there .. Also no news from Indonesia so far from the grade-4 ITf juniors where Tejasvi rao and Agnel Gladwin are playing.

I guess my news reports are all in a down mood lately -- OK, we should cheer up .. Things will get better soon .. Things will get better soon .. Soon .. Soon ...

June 29 Notes

At the Wimbledon, LP and MB won their mixed doubles and Karan and Neha advanced to the doubles second round today .. Here are the scores --

[R1] Neha Uberoi (USA) l. (4) Shahar Peer (ISR), 36 26
[R1] Tara Iyer/ Elizabeth Kobak (USA) l. (5) Katerina Bondarenko (UKR)/ Madalina Gojnea (ROM), 63 06 57
[R1] Tushar Liberhan/ Divij Sharan l. (1) Alex Kuznetsov (RUS)/ Mihail Zverev (GER), 36 46
[R1] (5) Karan Rastogi/ Chu-Huan Yi (TPE) d. Martin Fischer (AUT)/ Philipp Oswald (AUT), 67(6) 61 62
[R1] Ryoko Fuda (JPN)/ Neha Uberoi (USA) d. Natasha Khan (GBR)/ Laura Peterzan (GBR), 63 60
[R2] (2) M.Bhupathi/ E.Likhovtseva d. Chris Haggard (RSA)/ Z.Yan (CHN), 63 76(5)
[R2] (9) L.Paes/ M.Navratilova d. Sebastien Prieto (ARG)/ Emmanuelle Gagliardi (SUI), 61 63

Tomorrow's matches:
[R2] (5) Karan Rastogi/ Chu-Huan Yi (TPE) vs Juan Pablo Amado (ARG)/ Vahid Mirzadeh (USA)
[R2] Ryoko Fuda (JPN)/ Neha Uberoi (USA) vs (4) Marina Erakovic (NZL)/ Monica Niculescu (ROM)
[R3] (2) M.Bhupathi/ E.Likhovtseva vs Daniel Nestor (CAN)/ Lina Krasnoroutskaya (RUS)
[R3] (9) L.Paes/ M.Navratilova vs Wayne Black (ZIM)/ Cara Black (ZIM)

In other news, Harsh Mankad and Aisam Qureshi (PAK) won the first round at the $25K+H Montauban challenger in France, 61 76(4) over Oggie Kolev (AUS) and Jean-Rene Lisnard (FRA) .. Harsh plays the R1 singles tomorrow there .. Prakash plays his R1 singles at the Cordoba challenger tomorrow evening as well ..

At the $10K Canada F5 in Toronto, the 3rd seed Vishal Punna qualified into the main draw yesterday with a tough 57 63 76(3) comeback win over the 12th seed Aaaron Talarico (USA) in the 4th round of qualies .. He plays Michal Ciszek (CAN,715) in the first round .. In doubles, Vishal and Andrew Pallares (CAN)  play the 4th seeds Shannon Nettle (AUS)/ Sanjin Sadovich (CAN) .. At the $10K USA F16 in Chico, California, Stephen Amritraj (USA) qualified, also with a tough 36 63 76(5) win over Dejan Djokic (SCG) .. He plays Antonio Ruiz-Rosales (MEX,1270) in the first round ..

At the $10K ITF in Incheon, Korea, 4th seeded Rushmi Chakravarthi beat Shiho Tanaka (JPN,614), 61 63 and now plays Junri Namigata (JPN,871) in the R2 .. In doubles, Rushmi and Chin-Wei Chan (TPE) beat. Sandy Gumulya (INA)/ Septi Mende (INA), 61 61 and they play the Korean pair, Jeon-A Cho and Ji-Sun Ha in the QF.

At the $10K ITF in Tlemcen, Algeria, [R1] Parul Goswami (IND,1029) beat Dora Kiss (HUN) 63 60 and Sai Jayalakshmy beat Paola Iovino (VEN,925) 61 63 in the R1 .. The second round matches for Indians are: [R2] Parul vs Mariana Muci (VEN,776) .. [R2] Geeta Manohar vs. Diana Vranceanu (GER,752) and Sai  vs Anastasia Michail (GRE) ..

At the Indian satellite masters, Sunil Kumar had to unfortunately retire early in his match against Ajay, as the injury from last week has not healed .. He gets only 11 ATP points .. Vijay Kannan ended Kamala's run and could do some damage this week in a last gasp run for points .. Vishal, Vinod, Srinath, etc are all still alove into the QF .. See the satellite masters page and the points page ..  The next couple of matches are for big points .. Hope the Indians come through.

My comments yesterday about grasscourt tennis touched off a small discussion in our forum thread on Wimbledon .. Just to clarify my thoughts, I was not asking that we should go back to teaching all our kids only the serve-and-volley and touch tennis stuff for soft low-bounce grasscourts .. All I was saying was that there are a lot of coaches in India who know those things very well and that we should actually make use of the kind of skills grasscourt tennis teaches, for a nice "edge" that our kids could have .. A lot of the recent juniors are quite well-exposed to the kind of tennis the world now plays .. All the doublefisted backhands, top-spins, baseline grind, ground strokes, mental patience, all of that .. We should not go back on those things but when we have some resources back home both coaching-wise and facilities-wise, we should make use of it and get our kids to spend some extra time adding those kinds of "edges" as well to the game (without taking time away from the tennis they are taught these days and all the drilling they do to get up to speed to stand up against the grinders from abroad).  The kind of things you learn on grasscourts - good hands, steady volleys, drops, angles etc, still work in tennis provided they are used sparingly and when appropriate .. Just my thoughts .. It would be interesting to see what you tennis experts (I am not one) thinks of all this .. My opinion is that we should not take a 180 degree turn and drop grasscourt tennis altogether from our calendars and coaching programs .. It has its place, and if properly utlized, those are skills that would give our kids an "edge" in the coming years .. It is not that easy to get an edge through extra power, height, serve-speed, athleticism etc .. And any edge helps when the player has worked on it, believes in it and can use it properly .. I know my argument may seem strange for some of you who have seen my constant whining for years about how all our players should be playing clay more! .. But there is a subtle point I am trying to make here about versatility in tennis players ..  We do have some resources to produce players who are not one-dimensional, which we should carefully use .. I would say that even if the world calendar drops grasscourts altogether and go to just hardcourts and clay (not likely as long as Wimbledon exists), we should still persist with some grasscourt tennis and coaching, because it adds to the players' abilities in shot-making and winning points when in trouble and when in toruble and the patient grinding is not working .. Do put in your thoughts in the forum thread if you have some expert thoughts on all this.

By the way, this is a general comment only - I am not saying that the current juniors are totally lost on grass or anything .. In fact some of them are probably quite good at it still .. This bad results in this year's grass season may just have been due to some coincidences, lack of form in the players, etc .. But the general question about what to do with our grasscourt traditions is something we need to think about - hence I thought this was a good time to open the subject  .. In any event, we NEED TO SEE THE GRASSCOURT NATIONALS AGAIN SOON.  There is no excuse for not conducting one.  You don't drop traditions like that without anybody complaining.  I am officially lodging my complaint herein, I suppose.

June 28 Note-2.

Both Leander and Mahesh play their Mixed doubles second round matches tomorrow at the Wimbledon - both had R1 byes .. LP-Navratilova play Sebastien Prieto (ARG) and Emmanuelle gagliardi (SUI) .. MB and Likhovtseva play Chris Haggard (RSA) and Zi Yan (CHN) .. All the junior doubles matches are also on tomorrow .. Tara Iyer and Elizabeth Kobak (USA) play a very tough 5th seed pair, Katerina Bondarenko and Madalina Gojnea (ROM) .. 5th seeded Karan Rastogi and Chu-Huan Yi play the Austrian pair, Martin Fischer and Philipp Oswald .. Unseeded Tushar Liberhan and Divij Sharan couldn;t get a break at all in the draw - they run into the top seeds Alex Kuznetsov (RUS) and Mihail Zverev (GER) .. Neha Uberoi is playing only Tuesday, and she has a tough match against the 4th seed and the Australian Open winner, Shahar Peer.

Prakash Amritraj did indeed squeeze into the $100K+H Cordoba challenger draw whiich finally came out today - he was one of the last entries .. [R1] P.Amritraj (IND,230) vs Uros Vico (SVK,207) .. The match is on the schedule for wednesday .. I am sure PA knew only Saturday evening that he was making it .. Hopefully he has reached there.

Shikha Uberoi (USA) who just won back to back titles with 10 straight straight sets wins, has decided to take this week off .. She would have needed a wildcrad at the Los Gatis challenger in California, as she was a couple of spots out from the cut I think .. Not sure if she asked UTSA for a wildcard - she may have decided to take this week off after two weeks of a lot of tennis .. By the way, Megha and Shikha had gone down in the QF last week in doubles - I saw the scores only today, actually.

Megha Vakharia is the top seed at the $10K ITF in Southlake, Texas, USA .. The 394th ranked Megha will play Bianca Acquistapace (USA,898) in the first round .. Megs is not playing doubles this week.

Scores from the $10K ITF in Tlemcen, Algeria (thanks, Neil) .. [R1] Assia Halo (ALG) d. Nandini Perumal (IND) 62 61 .. [R1] Mariana Muci (VEN,776) d. Khushchehr Italia (IND) 75 36 61 .. [R1] Geeta Manohar (IND,990) d. Malika Bouakel (ALG) 60 61 .. In tomorrow's matches, [R1] Parul Goswami (IND,1029) vs. Dora Kiss (HUN) .. [R1] (3) Sai Jayalakshmy (IND,537) vs. Paola Iovino (VEN,925) ..

Punna Vishal is at the qualies for the $10K Canada F5 challenger as the 3rd seed, and he has reached the final round .. After a first round bye, he beat Ali Zaver (CAN), 67(5) 75 64 and Danny Bryan (USA), 61 62 .. He plays the 12th seed Aaaron Talarico (USA) in the final Q4 round .. Manoj Mahadevan was also there, as the 10th seed with a Q1 bye .. He beat Jonathan Schneider (USA) 5-0 (Ret.) but then fell to Peter Richman (CAN), 36 11 (Ret.) .. Hope the injury is not serious.

June 28 Note-1

Today was an utter disaster at Wimbledon, as we continue with the worst year on grass courts that India has ever had without a doubt .. First, last year's runners-up, MadMax went down in the 3rd round at Wimbledon .. [R3] (3) M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi l. (16) Julien Knowle (AUT)/ Nenad Zimonjic (SCG), 46 63 68 .. This was followed by our juniors dropping their matches one by one, with the whole stuff getting over in a hurry in one day, till Neha Uberoi of USA gave us something to cheer for with a win in the evening .. [R1] (12) Karan Rastogi (IND,10) l. G.D. Jones (NZL,50) 46 46 .. [R1] Divij Sharan (IND,32) l. Chu-Huan Yi (TPE,24), 16 63 16 .. [R1] Tushar Liberhan (IND,29) l. Viktor Troicki (SCG,21) 76(5) 67(2) 16 .. [R1] (WC) Neha Uberoi (USA) d. Ana Jerman (SLO,37), 62 64 .. All the losses are against good players, but this is way too depressing .. When they all kept racking up losses the last few weeks, we kept waiting that somehow things would turn around by Wimbledon .. Not really .. I just cannot believe how we have messed up the grass advantage we have had over the years .. Whatever excuses are given for totally canning the domestic grasscourt season (and I myself have always been a big supporter of the idea of our kids needing a lot more clay experience and "modern tennis" coaching), but this is crazy .. It is shameful that Indian kids look this lost on grass .. Our traditional stregths are something we should not give up easily .. It is something like zero wins in 10-15 main draw matches so far in the junior grass circuit for Indians in Europe .. We should immediately take some steps to put some grass events at the junior level .. Not too many; even 2 or 3 a year would do .. But even that is much more than what the kids play in most countries where there are no grass courts; and we still have some pretty big clubs with grass courts ..  Also, there is also perhaps a timely reason to do something .. The skills you learn on grasscourts are probably no longer as useless as they were for the last decade or so .. With the players coming up around the world (and even many coaches who finished playing in the last 5-10 years) having not played much against players with such skills, there is some subtle advantages to be gained from some grass experience .. This is just my uneducated opinion as usual, and I may be wrong, but I feel this way .. In any event, something must be done immediately by AITA with regard to a domestic grass schedule .. Heck we have not even held a grasscourt nationals in a long time .. Hope AITA which has been quite pro-active in recent years would get the ball rolling on this matter.

To add to the misery, MadMax lost unexpectedly .. Mahesh dropped serve the first time itself in the first set, but he came back and played very well in the second set, according to the Wimbledon site's article .. In the 3rd set, Max finally dropped serve late and our guys were oiusted .. Yikes .. Mahesh now loses some 600 odd points in his point total - it would not drop his ranking all that much but he lost a chance to perhaps go to the top and claim a #1 spot sometime this year .. And the lack of a final or title in three grand slams for LP and MB wouldn't help their chances for a top four seeding at Olympics too, I would think.

Harsh Mankad and Aisam Qureshi are the top seeds in doubles at the $25K+H Montauban challenger in France .. They play tomorrow (Tuesday) against a wildcard team Oggie Kolev (AUS) and Jean-Rene Lisnard (FRA) .. HM's singles first round will be on wednesday .. The Cordoba challenger singles draw is nowhere to be found yet - I am trying to see if Prakash went there by any chance in the last minute.

The masters leg of the Indian satellites have started well for the Indians .. Vijay Kannan, P.ravishankar, Ashutosh Singh, Jaco Mathew, Rahul Syed, all won today, picking up 4 extra circuit points and 2 or 3 ATP points each .. A nice draw for Indians, in fact .. The eight seeds with byes will play tomorrow .. Sunil Kumar was originally in the doubles draw with Kamala Kannan but had to pull out (probably due to the injury) replaced by Yu of Hong Kong .. SKS is still there in singles as the 4th seed .. See the satellite masters page and the points page..

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the two weeks ending on June 28 ..

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