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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for week ending on July 12, 1999

(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 99)

CONGRATS LP, MB (and Lisa) !! - Wimbledon Titles !!

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July 12 Note-1

Here are some interesting stats on performances in finals - LP-MB have won 15 of the 19 finals they have played (not including challengers) - the only losses were to Leach/Stark in the 97 Hartford finals, to Woodies at the 98 Singapore final (week after beating them in the Shanghai final), to Lareau/O'Brien in the 98 Stuttgart Super 9 final (after having beaten them in the Montral Super 9 and the PilotPen finals in 97) and to Bjorkman/Rafter in this year's AO final .. Including the 98 Newport singles final, the Mx-D final at big-W and yesterday's Newport doubles final, Leander now has an incredible 18-4 record in finals .. MB has had the LA infiniti final loss in Leach's company (97) and the Wimb Mx-D final loss last year .. With the 97 FO Mx-D final, his record is a stellar 16-6 .. If you also want to add the three challenger finals LP won (98 Bangkok, and Calcutta and Delhi in 99), then starting from January 97, Leander has a 21-4 record in the finals he has played .. That is truly remarkable .. MB has lost three challenger singles finals since 97 - though two were to Leander - (Kyoto 97, and Calcutta and Delhi this year) .. MB has won a challenger doubles final with Tramacchi (Vietnam 98) and lost one with Natekar (99 Mumbai) .. His total record since 1997 stands at 17-10 .. Those are all some great numbers that show how our pair is ready for the big occasions .. One of the fans in the club asked me to report on the tiebreaker stats for LP-MB, which is also just about mind-boggling .. I have been reluctant to talk about that stat, ever since doing that during the 97 US Open semi and finding our guys lose in straight tiebreakers to Kafelnikov/ Vacek !! .. Old timer fan club member and our far-east correspondent, Kim Das, was in the chatroom during that match, and we decided that we jinxed them badly by bragging about the tiebreak record .. I am half-kidding .. I am not that superstitious - one of these days I will find time to verify that stat and report it!

Fazal and Sela lost in the semifinals at the $50K Bristol challenger late last week, to Bourgeois and Petrovic, 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-3 .. If the semi was on Friday (not sure), he may have managed to get to the Manchester challenger qualifiers .. He has not made the main draw, and I have not seen the qualifier results from the weekend yet.

Though LP's rank will fall about 25 or more spots this week, and he has another 110 points to defend in 5 weeks for his big show at New Haven last year, he seems to be alright as far as singles entries are concerned, except for US Open (for which he will now have to play qualifying rounds) .. At the two tournaments after USO where he didn't want to miss singles entry (Shanghai and Singapore), he seems to be in line for wildcard entries anyway .. He has made the entry for LA starting in 2 weeks time, and Indianapolis starting in 5 weeks time .. Mahesh will join him for doubles at the Montreal and Cincinnati Super 9s in between those two tournaments, but LP will need to qualify for singles (not possible if he continues to do well in doubles and keeps playing on the weekends!) .. Same with the two Super 9s (Stuttgart and Paris) after Singapore -where only top-50 players make direct entry anyway .. He is has very few points to defend after August though and is planning to play 3 challengers in December .. Interestingly, another grass challenger (Mauritius) is back in the calendar again - LP is the defending champ there, from Dec 96, the last time they held that challenger ! .. See the schedule page that I just updated .. I am a bit unsure of Mahesh's schedule other than at the big tournaments where he will play with LP .. Both LP and MB are off this week, but MB may be in action next week at Stuttgart if the injuries get well by then (he is in Muscat with trainer Will Upton, according to newspaper reports) ..

LP plans to get to LA early enough, by Thursday next week and practice for the event starting on Monday the 26th - it would be nice to do well in singles there, though the field is very tough at this tournament which should be called the "appearance money vault" of the tour .. A $400K tournament that has attracted Sampras, Agassi, Rios and Henman ! .. Much more money than the prize money is spent in getting the top players, I am sure .. As they say down here, "only in LA" .. Here money rules and tennis is rather a sideshow for all the Hollywood bigwigs .. :-) .. It is a fun tournament though, and it being the closest to where I live, I certainly enjoy the show they put on - things like the Hollywood evening they had 2 years back, when Ashok Amritraj was an extremely funny chair umpire for an exhibition match that had comedian John Lovitz playing with Jim Courier and the "Nanny" TV show star Fran Drescher (sp?) was the match referee or something ..

June 11 Note-2

Hey, Leander wasn't going to leave his favorite place, Newport, without a title ! .. LP just won his 5th doubles title in just over 5 weeks! .. Paes-Arthurs d. S.Sargsian - C.Woodruff, 6-7(6), 7-6(7), 6-3 .. Once again Leander had to play a some tough tennis to pull off the win - and it must have helped to have a hot server like Arthurs with him too .. This makes it his 5th title with 4 different partners in over a month . Men's doubles title #17 for LP .. Not much points by his standards though - it gives him 144 pointss with 4 bonus .. He had 62 pts to defend here, so his point total will only go up fom 4913 to 4995 .. The winners share $22,300 for this title - so LP gets $19,650 from Newport including $8500 for the singles QF .. I guess that's enough for a couple of weeks of groceries :-) .. Good show, Leander !

I still haven't seen the result for Fazal/Sela in the doubles semis at the Bristol challenger .. Also, no luck yet in finding how Vijay Kannan did in Turkey this week.

July 11 Note-1

Paes and Arthurs recovered today from the problems in the second set and won the doubles semifinal at Newport, postponed from yesterday - 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 .. The doubles final will be against Sargsian/Woodruff, and should start at about 5.30 or 6 pm .. Leander will be going for his 5th title in 6 weeks ..

July 10 Note-3

Paes-Arthurs were leading 6-4, 1-3, but in trouble in the second set in the semifinal against Dilucia/Tieleman, when they postponed the completion of the doubles final to tomorrow at noon, as it was getting very late in the evening at Newport .. John McEnroe spoke too long ( :-), but extremely enjoyable stuff from him) at the Hall of Fame acceptance speech this afternoon - so the singles semis started a bit late .. Woodruff had to go the full distance before finally breaking Arthurs in the 9th game of the 3rd set today (it took an incredible backhand crosscourt return of what was a sure second serve ace on the breakpoint - that is basically the only thing that can beat Arthurs right now it seems!) - 7-6, 6-7, 6-4 .. Carlssen beat Tieleman in the other semifinal .. They will complete the doubles semi first at noon, then play the singles final at 2 pm and will complete the doubles final later (Woodruff/ Sargsian had reached the doubles final yesterday - so it will be quite late in the evening, after Woodruff is given a break following the singles final).

July 10 Note-2

I am so glad to see all the coverage tennis has been getting in Indian newspapers, especially after the Wimbledon titles - there is something about Wimbledon that gives it a special place in Indian sports fans' hearts - despite it giving the same points as other grand slams and similar prize money (actually USO gives the highest prize money) .. Many around the world think grass is an anachronism and even Wimbledon should change from that surface, though everyone grudgingly admit that it is the biggest grand slam among equals .. Also, note that Wimbledon draws close lower than all other grand slams normally, with some Spanish players even showing the cheek to skip it in favor of challengers on clay, and one prominent Chilean never making more than an obligatory appearance there, if at all ! .. But those grasscourts are still what catches the fancy of Indians - as they should .. It's the grandest of them all, whatever they say ..

Anyway, excellent work by Indian press so far in spreading the word that there are two true winners in sports in India and they are not cricketers (it's interesting that many newspaper articles make it a point to do that comparison with cricketers, though it is really apples and oranges, or chalk and cheese - it is also a bit unfair to cricket, as there is only so much that even a true professional like an SRT can do when the team has 11 people, rather than 2) .. Here is what The Hindu wrote today - They are among the few who live their dreams - a superb article about our pair, including comments from other top doubles players, etc .. The article doesn't mention who wrote it (why does this newspaper do that to their best and their worst articles - they didn't give authorship online for that nasty "split" piece-of-crap last week either!) .. Here are the articles on a press conference Mahesh had yesterday - article in Indian Express, article in The Hindu ..

Leander also was in touch with Indian newspapers from Newport .. He dedicated the titles to the Kargil soldiers! .. Here is The Hindu on that .. Here is Ranavir Bose's Times of India article on that, also with some other info from Dr. Paes .. Here is the articles in the Hindustan Times .. Here is the article in the Telegraph (Calcutta) with some interesting info on Leander considering hiring a coach just to work on his service and backhand returns (click here if the articles has gone to the archives).

Another site that has been covering tennis well, is rediff-on-the-net from Mumbai, the online newspaper which was primarily known for their cricket coverage in the past .. Here is Shailesh Soni's article yesterday on LP and MB reaching the top-20 and 25 in money earnings .. Here is TVR Shenoy in rediff : Better Role models: Paes and Bhupathi - another one filled with some rather scathing digs at cricketers .. Talking of rediff, I often get emails from people asking me if I write for rediff, as some of the articles contain stuff very similar to what I write here .. No I don't, but it's not just concidence - rediff had invited me once if I would like to write for them on tennis, and I chose not to, as I really didn't think I had time to write clean articles, and also I am not sure if I am a good enough writer despite all the non-stop blabbering I put in here .. It's easy to write this when it is at my own site where I can be fiercely independent too! .. Also, I write more here when I have time, like this week, and much less when I am busy with my real job in academics - heck I don't even spend any time spell-checking what I write here .. So, instead I told rediff that I had no problem if any info from these pages appeared in their articles (same with other newspapers too - I am happy as long as tennis gets coverage!) .. Of course, those at rediff, like Shailesh Soni, are much better writers and I am glad to see their articles, some with info from here and others based on their own research .. I am also thankful to all the press folks who send me info occasionally that they can't easily fit into article form.

By the way, I don't intend to list newspaper article links this extensively all the time here - there were quite a few good ones this week, so I decided to do some extra work - that's all ! - Always check here first before you read newspapers, as I can often report any "breaking news" faster than them all :-) :-) ..

July 10 Note-1

Leander and Arthurs got together later in the evening yesterday to win a doubles match and reach the semis - Paes - Arthurs d. Mose Navarra - Stefano Pescosolido, 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 7-5 .. They play David Dilucia and Laurence Tieleman this evening in the semis, after John McEnroe's Hall-of-Fame induction ceremony and the two singles semis .. Woodruff and Sargsian have already reched the doubles final .. The singles semifinals are, Arthurs vs Woodruff, and Carlsen vs Tieleman (the lone remaining seed, Andrew Ilie got knocked out by Tieleman yesterday) .. Arthurs will give Woodruff a match, unless that long doubles match later yesterday has tired him out too much.

As for yesterday's singles match, my guess that Arthurs has still not been broken at Newport turned out to be right .. He has so far won all 43 of his service games, according to the AP report .. That means in the last 10 matches he has played, Agassi at Wimbledon is the only one to break him - that makes sense, as Agassi unquestionalby has the best returns in the business .. That is in over 150 service games by Arthurs .. LP seems to have fought till the end yesterday though - incredibly, in 43 service games at Newport, Arthurs has faced just ONE break point, and that was against LP at 4-2 in the 3rd set yesterday .. LP knew he it was his best chance .. Knew he had to guess right and move early or get aced, and it seems he guessed wrong .. 20 aces by Arthurs yesterday including the one there .. I frankly didn't think anything less than a flawless performance from somebody would be enough to beat an in-form LP at Newport, and Arthurs had that yesterday .. Here are all the details of the match, in the Associated Press' report at ESPN :  Arthurs bounces Paes .. By the way, I forgot to give the links at the local newspaper (Providence Journal-Bulletin) about the previous days' matches - Australia's Arthurs upsets defending champion Paes to reach finals at Newport (today), Paes ousts top-seed Ferreira, 6-2, 6-2, at Newport (June 9), and Lite workout for Paes at Newport HOF (June 8) - these links will go away from their online archives in a couple of days, so read them now! .. It looks like Arthurs has taken the headlines away from LP now .. Here are some bits from the newspaper's article on LP's win over Ferreira - "Ferreira lasted only 52 minutes on the windswept court. His service game was bad. He double-faulted five times, the last at match point. He lost his serve four times. He won only half of his service points, 23 of 46 .. Ferreira's return game was worse. He won only 2 of 21 points on Paes's first serve and 9 of 24 on Paes's second serve .. No wonder Ferreira used an expletive to describe his day .. ``He's a fantastic player. He had a rough day. He obviously didn't play his best tennis,'' Paes said .. However, while LP was gracious towards the one he beat, Ferreira appears to be a sore loser - the dude said about Leander (from the article) - "this is the only time you see him - on grass.'' .. "He can say whatever he wants,'' Paes responded, mentioning that he beat Ferreira in a Davis Cup match in India - Yes, on grass .. Interesting. The fact is that LP's abilities in singles are often underestimated by top tour players - that is, until they lose to him .. And when they lose to him, they blame everything else rather than LP's talent, as they can't figure out how they couln't beat somebody like LP .. As for Paes, his singles game is inconsistent enough (except at Newport - and quite a bit due to the doubles success these days) which doesn't help in changing the perceptions!

I still have no news on how Vijay Kannan is doing at the Turkey futures this week .. Fazaluddin and Ofer Sela (ISR) have reached the semifinal of doubles at the Bristol challenger in UK .. They beat the British pair, Justin Layne and Miles MacLagan, 64 64, in the first round and then upset the 4th seeds Adriano Ferreira (BRA) and Jose Frontera (PUR) 63 57 61 in the quarterfinals .. The semi is against an unseeded pair of Aussies with French and Slavic names - Luke Bourgeois (#342) and Dejan Petrovic (#215) - no results yet .. Fazal has earned 25 pts so far to add to his 110, and that is enough to move his doubles ranking up from near 400 to about 350 .. A good doubles ranking is useful, because it helps Fazal to get into doubles draws easily and make a few hundred dollars more which is always good for expenses at these challengers, in case he has to play qualifying rounds for singles and and doesn't make it in, like this week.

July 9 Note-2

Leander's run ended and Arthur's run continues .. something had to give today, as Arthurs once again played two tiebreakers - Leander did manage to win a tiebreak off him, but that wasn't enough, as Arthurs has proven to be the toughest man to get a break off (I believe only Agassi has broken him in the last 10 matches! - and I don't believe LP broke him today either, but I haven't seen any match details) and LP's 7-match win streak at Newport ended. Score: Arthurs d. Paes, 6-7(7), 7-6(3), 6-3 .. He got an early break in the 3rd set and it was over after that .. LP, despite all the hardwork recently, has quite a bit of work to do now in singles, as his rank will fall to around #130, as he loses 108 of the 151 points from Newport and drops to a total of 364 points. More on those details later.

July 9 Note-1

Leander's quarterfinal match against Wayne Arthurs (AUS,106) at the $295K Miller Lite Hall of Fame tournament in Newport, RI, is scheduled for about 1 pm this afternoon .. Wayne Arthurs has had a strange career - he is 6-2 tall, 28 years old and is on a late roll in his career at his highest ranking of #106 this week .. He turned pro in 1989 and climbed inside the top-300 by 1993 .. Then he dropped out of sight, and kept falling in ranking, all the way down to #1100 by late 97 .. I don't know what happened, but out of the blue, he went and won the Perth challenger in Dec 1997 !! .. He has been climbing over the last 18 months, and started this year at around #160 .. His big heroics came at the US Open, where he qualified in and went all the way to the fourth round where he lost to Agassi (see my bit about him in the June 28 Note-3 last week - he had won 3 qualy rounds and 3 main draw rounds without dropping serve even once and had a 12-1 record in tiebreakers before Andre took him out! - a dream run) .. That pushed his ranking up from the 180s to 106 .. He is also doing very well in doubles, ranked 8th as a team with Andrew Kratzmann - and of course playing now with the top doubles player in the world at Newport .. He will go up against his partner in singles first today, and then will comeback to play doubles QF later with Paes (against qualifiers, Mose Navarra and Stefano Pescosolido - that match should be at around 4.30 pm).

Leander can earn 75 total points (including 15 bonus) by reaching his 4th consecutive semifinal at Newport with a win today, but that will still leave him at 396 ATP points and a ranking just outside top-115 .. That won't be enough for him to make the US Open draw which closes soon .. LP has no choice but to win this title to make USO safely ..  Reaching the final may be enough to squeeze in, but that's not a sure thing ..

Since Arthurs took out the 7th seed Daniel Nestor yesterday 6-7(8), 6-4, 7-6(5) and Tieleman beat the 5th seed Sargsian 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 6-2 in tough comebacks, there is only one seeded player left in the Quarterfinals at Newport. Here is the draw now:

  Leander Paes    (IND,102) vs  Wayne Arthurs       (AUS,106)  \
  Chris Woodruff  (USA,116) vs  Stefano Pescosolido (ITA,207)  / \ _ title
4 Andrew Ilie     (AUS, 59) vs  Laurence Tieleman   (ITA,115)  \ /
  Kenneth Carlsen (DEN,109) vs  Peter Wessels       (NED,111)  /

Despite the rankings, every one of these guys are pretty darn good players on grass (including Chris Woodruff, who is not known as a grass player, but is good on all surfaces, and is on a slow comeback trail from big injuries ever since he won the Montreal Super 9 in 97) ..

Here is the Associated Press report from Newport, from the CNNsi site, Suprisingly easy! : Paes stuns top seed Ferreira .. AP seems to have some good writer out at Newport - it's a rather refreshingly detailed article, unlike the usual hype-stuff that many AP beat reporters write .. This bit gave me a chuckle - Although his serve was dominant in terms of points, Paes was unhappy with his first-serve percentage. Recalling baseball's Mark Fidrych, Paes appeared to talk to some tennis balls early in the second set, urging them to land in the service box .. Paes claimed that he was merely talking to himself, but acknowledged that "I have been known to talk to the ball before." .. Whatever, dude ! .. You can talk, pray or put some Indian voodoo on the ball - as long as you win, we are fine with that! .. Anyway, so far LP is having a ball there :-) .. Here is a different report on the match (from the ticker) at the yahoo site: Paes stuns top seed Ferreira ..

In other news, Leander will be in the singles draw at Los Angeles (starting in the 3rd week from now), and has made the draw also at Indianapolis (starting in the 6th week from now) .. Not yet at the two super 9s (Montral and Cincinnati) in betwen these two .. The entries for the Boston and Long Island tournaments in the 7th week (week before USO) are not closed yet .. LP will be taking the next two weeks off and will be at LA after that.

June 8 Note-3

Yippee .. The top seed goes down! .. I think Leander is still a bit unconscious in his tennis (probably thinks he is still playing doubles with Mahesh :-)) .. Paes d. W.Ferreira (RSA,32), 6-2, 6-2 ! .. He is once again in the QF there and will be playing either Wayne Arthurs or 7th seed Daniel Nestor (their match is underway now) next .. A correction from earlier - LP will get only 12 bonus points for this win (not 24 as I had written earlier - that would be for beating a doubles team with a sum-rank of 32) .. So it is 43 points so far including 13 bonus .. Go Leander, Go !

5th seed and 97 winner Sargis Sargsian went down today to Laurence Tieleman, a semifinalist in 98, in 3 sets .. That leaves the 4th seed Ilie and the 7th seed Nestor (both playing later today) as the only possible seeds in the quarterfinals .. The story seems the same every year at Newport!

July 8 Note-2

Leander's match with #1 seed Wayne Ferreira is scheduled for around 1 pm this afternoon at the Hall of Fame, Newport, Rhode Island .. Ferreira, though down a bit at #32 now, is a former top-10 player who was ranked as high a #6 not too long ago .. He is 6 ft tall and 28 yrs old .. South African, which means he is comfortable on grass .. He has normally gone about 3 or 4 rounds at Wimbledon for the last few years, but was ousted in the first round this year by Andrew Ilie (the 4th seed at Newport) .. He did have a couple of wins at Queens though .. His first round match against Mose Navarra was reportedly very entertaining, with some good serve-and-volleying .. Already 4 seeds are out before QFs (2nd seed Ferreira, 3rd seed Prinosil, 6th seed Gimelstob, 8th seed Lareau) and 4 second round matches are on schedule today.

Leander and Ferreira have faced each other once - in the 1994 Davis Cup world group qualifier (after that 5-0 shellacking from US in the World group earlier in the year, India was trying to stay in the world group for 95 and faced RSA who had come through the Euro-African zone) .. That was on grass, in India .. LP and Natekar had lost the doubles tie to Norval/Ferreira and India was gasping for breath at 1-2 .. And, as you would expect, with the now-legendary motivational work by captain Naresh Kumar, 21 yr old Leander went up against the world #13 Wayne Ferreira and put the fear of God into the whole RSA side - LP won in easy straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 !! .. Alas, we still lost, as Ondruska beat Gaurav Natekar in the 5th match for a 3-2 win .. Anyway, that was all then - and this is now .. LP doesn't have Naresh Kumar advising him, but this is his favorite grass surface outside of Calcutta, and he does have coach Bob Carmichael with him (and so is his good trainer, Sanjay Singh, who normally travels with LP during his US swing) .. I am optimistic that LP can pull off a repeat win .. He is in a tough spot - he needs to reach at least the final to be sure of making the direct entry at US Open for which the entries close based on the Jul 19th ranking .. LP has 151 points to defend here .. A win today would give him 24 extra bonus points for 55 points total ..

LP has received some good press coverage from Newport - yesterday's headline for the Newport wire stories in the US (normally kept at the CBS, yahoo, AP sites) was "Defending champ Paes in action today at HOF" .. Here is the archived story from today - "Paes rolls into second round at Hall of Fame Tennis" .. ESPN ticker sports has some details of yesterday's match here - "Defending champ wins opener" .. The same AP story is at the CNN site as "He's back! - Paes wins his first match on familiar turf"and they have a picture captioned "singular sensation" !! .. LP is definitely the most talked-about tennis player never to cross top-75 !! .. There was even an agency news item yesterday that included the result of LP's first round doubles win on Tuesday - that was positively the first time I ever saw an early round doubles result in an agency daily-beat report from any US tournament (since Agassi played doubles at the Las Vegas challenger, perhaps!) - usuallty the only doubles news in the daily reports is after the finals (thank ATP for the extremely shoddy job of feeding the media room press guys with any info on doubles).

By the way, here is a cute picture that Amul had after the French Open title (they should soon be coming out with something on the Wimbledon title too, I am sure) .. Thanks go to Kavita for alerting me to this -

Amul-ad-pic-french-open-99.. "India's top double pair, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, winning the first Grand Slam Trophy for Men's Doubles Final in the French Opens" - Amul's caption.

Wonder who that girl in the picture is ? ... May be Leander's girlfriend who has been his biggest supporter at all these tournaments - the one who is most consistent in cheering the pair all the time from the stands !

June 8 Note-1

Here are some more stuff on the Wimbledon titles ..First, Leander is the "Player of the Week" at ATP Tour's official website ! .. Here is the portrait write-up at the website - Leander Paes, the "Indian Express" .. The article is rather incorrect on a couple of things though .. They also have two articles on the weekend doubles matches by LP-MB .. See Another Indian Slam and Ten sets of tennis at the magazine section of the website .. I frankly don't remember ever seeing so much coverage on any doubles team at that site (which is actually one of the very few online sites with any news on doubles teams, though - other than Indian newspaper archives and this site).

July 7 Note-4

Leander has not let up just yet .. He won the first round of singles easily at the $295K Newport Hall of Fame tournament today .. Paes d. Nenad Zimonjic (YUG,197), 6-1, 6-3 .. He will be going up against a much tougher player tomorrow though - the top seed Wayne Ferreira of South Africa, ranked #32 .. If LP is "feeling it", like he seems to be over the last few days, he can certainly pull it off ..

In other news, there are a few Indian players playing abroad this week .. Vijay Kannan made it into the main draw at the $10K Turkey futures as the last man ! .. He was drawn against Timo Nigri (GER,720) in the first round .. No results yet from the main draw .. Negri was in the Indian satellites last November (he had losses to Sandeep Kirtane, Praveen Sreenivasan, and Saurav Panja, but had beaten Vasudeva Reddy and S.Zaman) .. If Kannan plays his game with confidence, he can do well .. In the qualifiers at the same futures, Mustafa Ghouse won two rounds before falling in the 3rd .. SK Shivshankar also was in the qualies, but lost in the first round .. Anand Radhakrishnan is at the Indonesia futures again this week, but lost in the first round of qualies to Febi Widiyanto .. Anand made it to the main draw of doubles with an Indonesian player, but lost in R1 .. With Fazal losing over the weekend in the qualifiers at the Bristol challenger, this is not a good week so far for them all (no news on Fazal's main draw doubles match yet) .. Hopefully Vijay will do something .. Harsh Mankad had talked about going to Turkey with Vijay and Mustafa, but seems to have decided to stay back and get ready to leave for US college soon.

Nirupama was in India for a couple of weeks and will be playing again only next week at the Atlanta challenger .. She may be on her way to the US now.

July 7 Note-3

OK, back to Newport .. Leander's title defense starts today .. He has 151 points to defend at the $295K tournament .. This has been a gras surface that Leander has liked in the past, having reached the semi in 96 and 97 also before the title last year .. It is usually not as fast a surface as at Wimbledon, I believe and the bounce is perhaps lower too ? .. It's a tounament that Indians have done well at in the past - Vijay Amritraj won the title three times there .. Actually, during the prize ceremony last year, Hall-of-Fame tennis broadcaster/writer Bud Collins mentioned this to Leander .. Leander had said then that he hoped that "there will be a second, a third, a forth etc, etc.." after his first title .. Time to get that second one, Lee!

Leander is scheduled to play Nenad Zimonjic (YUG) today at about 1 pm in the first round .. A correction from below - Zimonjic is ranked 197 now .. I was using the pre-Wimbledon ranking (thanks, Vas Param, for pointing out) and had forgotten that Nenad had a great run at Wimbledon, qualifying in (wins over Brian MacPhie, Jonathan Erlich and Mike Bryan) and then reaching the 3rd round beating Dinu Pescariu and Jeff Tarango in 4-setters, before losing to Kuerten in straight sets .. That gave him 62 points and brought his ranking up 69 spots to 197 .. Nenad had been ranked inside the top-180 earlier in the year, though .. He is a 23 year old who made the move up from the 500s to inside top-250 early last year .. He is a tall guy (most qualifiers at Wimbledon are, eh ?) .. Leander definitely can't look past this guy .. The top seed Wayne Ferreira (#32) is waiting for the winner of this match .. Wayne, by the way, entered the tournament only last week, to the joy of the organizers .. He said he wanted to win a few matches on grass, since he had a poor Wimbledon, and this is the last grass tournament of the year .. Ferreira won yesterday, 63 63 over Mose Navarra of Italy .. The second seed Jason Stoltenberg lost yesterday in a three-setter to Jonathan Stark yesterday .. LP's match is one of only two R1 matches to be played today - the other matches are all R2 matches ..

July 7 Note-2

Slowly completing the Wimbledon coverage .. Below is the on-site fanclub member report from Wimbledon, by Samarth Sinha (thanks, and sorry for putting this up a bit late - had the email on Sunday itself) : Samarth says,

I don't think I saw much in the newspapers about the mixed doubles final .. So, here is Samarth's account,

Nice work, Samarth .. Well-said! .. By the way, don't be too hard on Lisa .. She is a terrific doubles player, ranked #3 in the world .. She must have been dead tired too after playing all these matches (not everybody is a Leander, you know! :-)) .. I think she was hardly broken in the first 5 matches .. By the way, forgot to mention earlier - Leander finished his great weekend by winning the mixed doubles title with an Ace! .. I think that concludes our Wimbledon coverage ? :-) :-)

July 7 Note-1

The Wimbledon title has pushed Leander and Mahesh to the stratosphere in ATP points and rankings .. The new rankings and points for individual doubles (based on 52 weeks of points) are, 1) Leander Paes, 4913 pts .. 2) Mahesh Bhupathi, 4857 .. 3) Sandon Stolle, 3336 .. 4) Olivier Delaitre, 3262 .. 5) Paul Haarhuis, 3079 .. 6) Fabrice Santoro, 2848 .. 7) Daniel Nestor, 2672 .. 8) Mark Knowles, 2628 .. 9) Jared Palmer, 2532 .. 10) Ellis Ferreira 2487 .. Note that there is over 1500 points separating Mahesh from the #3, Stolle ! .. The 10th ranked player, Ellis Ferreira has roughly only half the points LP has .. That shows what a dominant year our pair has had .. By the way, the Woodies have dropped to their lowest ranking in years, at #13 and #15, after losing a lot of points at Wimbledon (they were finalists last year) .. Rather sad to see one of the truly legendary doubles teams with over 50 titles, go down like this .. They are still looking for those last 5-6 titles to become the best ever in titles, but it looks more and more distant now .. Somehow, the Woodies have just not had many great results since they lost to our guys in the Shanghai final late last year (though they beat our guys in the Singapore finals the next week) .. As for our boys, there are only 181 points out of around 4900 each to defend together till August 13th when 363 points come off at the US Open .. Then about 1300 points to defend in October/November .. MB has 133 extra points to defend for the semifinal at Stuttgart outdoors in three weeks .. He had played with Kafelnikov there last year and will be playing with him again this year, before rejoining LP in the US ..

In team rankings (based on 1999 Calendar year points) this week, 1) Paes-Bhupathi, 2972 .. 2) Ferreira/Leach, 1743 .. 3) Bjorkman/Rafter, 1637 .. 4) Black/Stolle, 1539 .. 5) Woodies, 1373 .. 6) Adams/deJager, 1339 .. 7) Haarhuis/Palmer, 1329 .. 8) Arthurs/Kratzmann, 1138 .. 9) Delaitre/Santoro, 1104 .. 10) Novak/Rikl, 1058 .. 11) Reneberg/Stark, 906 .. Only 10 teams have even over a 1000 points and the 11th team has less than 1/3rd the points the Indian Express has picked up .. With three doubles titles, a mixed doubles title and a bit of singles, Leander has earned about $385K in the last 30 dayas (that is over 1.5 crore rupiahs!) .. For perspective, note that LP earned only about that much in the first 6 years of his career, till the end of 1996 .. Also, Leander has gone over $2 Million in career earnings now with about 2/3rd of it from doubles .. Hesh has earned over $1.5 million for his career.

Since I have not seen this reported anywhere, here is the final prize money for the mixed doubles title - Leander and Lisa Raymond shared 79,180 Pounds for the title (about $135K - Rs 55 lakhs or so) ..

Talking of MB playing with Kafelnikov in Stuttgart in 2 weeks (and LP's plans to play with Bjorkman at a couple of places this summer when MB is away playing some singles and all that), there have been more newspaper reports trying to play this up as "checking out other partners", and "praparing for a split", etc .. Once again, I feel our media needs to follow professional sports a bit more closely and understand how prefessional relationships work between players .. At least they should just check the results at this site to see how MB played with Leach, Kafelnikov, Tramacchi, etc, and LP with Norval, Mark Keil, Tramacchi, etc in 97 and 98 to know there is nothing to these things .. It surprises me that some of the better tennis correspondents are doing this (I cannot imagine that it is for want of a story "angle" to write on - if I can fill up pages and pages on our pair, these good newspaper writers certainly can) .. May be many of these correspondents have been too close to our pair, are rather too fond of LP and MB (and liked them as a goofy "bro-bro" "goody-goody" pair who have always been accessible) and want to help by writing that they should be careful about their relationship with each other etc .. I say, please get off their case .. They have been at it for some time, they are the ones who make money, and they are the ones who stand to lose money if they make wrong decisions too (and they DO play for money - that's what professionals do!) .. They have been in the circuit long enough, and they will make the judgments on their careers .. As Dr.Paes said to newspapers yesterday, "just leave them alone - don't confuse them with advice!" .. Let us just enjoy the fabulous tennis they play in the process .. We can certainly comment and criticize their tennis and their tennis plans, but let us also be a bit professional.

July 6 Note-5

The prize money rankings show LP and MB at #18 and #22 this year with $454K and $415K respectively (excluding the mixed doubles earnings which ATP dcoes not count in the prize money) .. LP has won

Leander continues his torrid run - he just went out with his 4th partner in the last 4 weeks, this time Wayne Arthurs (AUS), and won the first round of doubles at the $295K Newport Hall of Fame tennis tournament ! .. They defeated Tuomas Ketola (FIN) and Rogier Wassen (NED), 6-2, 6-2 !! .. What can I say ? .. :-)

By the way, there were some rumors that came from Wimbledon that Leander was not going to Newport (actually one of the fanclub members thought he heard somebody who looked like an agent or something talking over the phone about LP not going to Newport!) .. Then there was a wire news item that is out today at the CBS and Yahoo tennis websites (from AP or sports ticker) which says that "Leander is not defending his title this week" .. Strange stuff ! .. As I got a couple of emails from fans already, I called up Newport .. It's all wrong info - don't worry, LP is there, and is playing singles ! - now that I have got the score of his doubles match, you know he is physically there too .. :-) .. I will chat with LP sometime and find out where these rumors started from .. Tomorrow's schedule is not out yet, but LP will be playing Nenad Zimonjic (YUG,266) in the first round.

July 6 Note-4

Fazal Syed was at the $25K Bristol challenger qualifiers this week .. He missed the main draw rather narrowly and was the 3rd seed in the qualies .. After a first round bye, Fazal unfortunately went down to Frederik Loven (SWE,615), 1-6, 4-6 .. Mahesh was supposed to be at this challenger and was to be the 7th seed, before he withdrew because of the abdominal injury .. Fazal is playing doubles with Ofer Sela of Israel and faces Justin Bower (USA) and MIles MacLagan (GBR) in the first round ..

July 6 Note-3

Here is the Associated Press news item from Yahoo, that perhaps shows how nice the titles at Wimbledon were:

There were 6 winners at Wimbledon - four from the US (Sampras, Davenport, Raymond, Morariu) and two from India (Paes, Bhupathi) .. LP and Davenport are the double-titleists .. By the way, Woodbridge and Woodforde had each accomplished these double titles at Wimbledon a few years back .. I don't think anybody has ever played 18 sets in two days to pull this off, though!

As for other news items, here is the BBC piece: Bhupathi and Paes: the best team in the world .. Here is the item from ESPN's website: India still dominant in doubles .. Here is the Hindustan Times article: Leander, Mahesh serve superb fare .. The Times of India says, Paes-Bhupathi do a Grand Slam double .. Here is another - Stay focussed, is the advice for Paes .. The Hindu says, Paes-Bhupathi bag doubles crown .. and here are others: Fantastic, says Mishra .. Accolades roll in for Paes-Bhupathi .. Leander calm amidst euphoria .. Here is the Telegraph, Calcutta, saying Paes ‘celebrates’ with a dash out of London .. Here is the official interview from the Wimbledon site published in the Indian Express: We didn't let our heads hang too far, says Bhupathi .. Here is another bit: A death Paes was not told about (about the pet dog) .. Actually, as I was going through the latest news update pages at the Indian Express site on Sunday afternoon, I found so many news items - Congrats from the President, PM, Thakeray, even Karunanidhi .. Then comments by Ramanathan Krishnan, etc, all the way down to young Harsh Mankad .. Items like (but not exactly) "Desai thrilled", "AITA elated", "City players happy", etc, etc .. Finally I saw the item that made me laugh and jump out of my chair - "Mahesh's mother thrilled" ! .. DUH ?!? .. Now, that's an understatement ! .. But I am glad to see all the media coverage of our heroes' exploits .. If it helps even a handful of good kids to get inspired by our role models, take up the sport, and strive to be the best, it will be terrific.

If you still have not heard about the details of how the final match went, here is Uday Bajekal's report from Wimbledon in the Deccan Herald - Paes-Bhupathi win second successive Grand Slam .. Here is SK John's article in the Indian Express with the details of the final: Double whammy by Paes-Bhupathi .. I looked for the The Hindu correspondent's article, but he seems to have chosen to watch the women's final in progress at that time, as he has written all the details of that match, and nothing much on our guys' match .. unbelievable .. Where are Kamesh Srinivasan and Sharda Ugra when we need them at these tournaments ?

July 6 Note-2

Prakash Hemdev sent a new front page for the site with the trophy pictures from Wimbledon .. Check it out !

July 6 Note-1

I had heard that the ATP tour manager was trying to call up Newport and get Leander a wednesday start, as he was playing so much of tennis at Wimbledon over the weekend .. They did give Leander a break and will have him play singles on Wednesday only (I guess it's good to be the defending champ, too!) .. LP is however in the schedule for a doubles match today, in Wayne Arthur's company .. That may not be a bad idea, to get some little workout on the courts there today before playing the singles tomorrow .. Here is the upper half of the singles draw at Newport, with the latest rankings:

1 Wayne Ferreira      (RSA, 32) vs   Mose Navarra     (ITA,123) \
  Leander Paes        (IND,102) vs   Nenad Zimonjic   (YUG,197) / \
  Wayne Arthurs       (AUS,106) vs Q Cedric Kauffman  (FRA,313) \ / \
7 Daniel Nestor       (CAN, 68) vs   Michael Hill     (AUS,209) /    \
3 David Prinosil      (GER, 57) vs Q Scott Humphries  (USA,349) \    /
  Chris Woodruff      (USA,116) vs   Rogier Wassen    (NED,170) / \ /
  Stefano Pescosolido (ITA,207) d.   Neville Godwin   (RSA,179) \ /
  Max Mirnyi          (BLR,136) d. 6 Justin Gimelstob (USA, 80) /

It is perhaps a marginally stronger singles draw this time than last year .. Newport normally doesn't get more than about 6-7 top 100 players - there are a couple more this time .. In doubles, the upper half of the draw is,

1 W.Arthurs(AUS)/ L.Paes(IND)   vs   T.Ketola(FIN)/ R.Wassen(NED)     \
  S.Humphries(USA)/ E.Ran(ISR)  vs Q Qualifiers                       / \
  D.Flach(USA)/ M.Merklein(USA) vs   D.DiLuca(USA)/ L.Tieleman(ITA)   \ /
3 M.Mirnyi(BLR)/ S.Stolle(AUS)  vs   W.Ferreira(RSA)/ N.Zimonjic(YUG) /

More later ..

July 5 Notes

I am overwhelmed with all kinds of emails and information and everything else about the Wimbledon win .. Will have lots of interesting stuff on the win in the next two days or so .. but right now - let's look forward .. LP is in the singles and doubles draw at Newport .. LP vs Nenad Zimonjic (YUG,266) in the first round .. He is drawn to face the winner of the match between #1 seed Wayne Ferreira (RSA) and Mose Navarra (ITA) .. In doubles, he is entered with Wayne Arthurs and they face Ketoa/Wassen first .. LP-WA are the top seeds .. I am not sure when LP will get to Newport, but they may need him there by Tuesday at least .. Stay tuned and I will update if LP makes any last minute change of plans, because of all kinds of hoopla going on following the Wimbledon win.

Got a note from Mahesh thanking the fan club and everybody else for the support .. He needs to take a couple of weeks off to heal the abdomen injury he has .. That's unfortunate, as he had a chance to play at the Bristol and Manchester challengers .. He may next play only at Stuttgart and will be joining LP in the US later on, I expect .. MB says he himself did not think they would be able to win Wimbledon ! .. He wants us all to keep the cheers up and they will go for a hattrick at the USO .. YEAH!

.. Previous notes are at Weekly Notes, ending July 5 ..