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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for week ending on Sep 21, 1998

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Please read the newly-added page, a collection of notes, especially on the important topic of Indian players needing support .. We need responses and help from everybody ..

Sep 21 Notes

Nothing much to report for monday .. The main draw matches at the Seattle challenger are set to start only tuesday, as the qualifiers got done only on monday .. I will report the draw and whom Nirupama will be playing, later on tuesday once that is known.

Some good news: The Indian under-16 team finished as #9th at the NEC World Youth Cup at Cuneo, Italy over the weekend. They had lost their first tie with Croatia, and thus were playing for the best position among the bottom 8 out of the 16 after the first tie .. and they won three ties in a row to end up as the best among those who lost their first tie. By the way, I hate that format which causes the first tie pairings to determine a whole lot .. That Croatian team went on to the finals and lost 2-1 to Spain after a close doubles match that decided everything in the end .. Anyway, great job by AV Rao, Kamala Kannan and Karan Doctor for not quitting after the first tie and getting to the best possible standing after that ..

Sep 20 Notes

I guess things are going to get heated up now for Davis Cup .. Leander, Mahesh, Prahlad and Fazal should be getting to UK right about now, for a few days of practice .. Saw a couple of short interviews by LP and Rusedski with the Davis Cup site's folks .. LP brought up an interesting thing about the site selection that I had not thought about earlier .. Question: You say there will be lots of support for the home side but we all know there is a very big Indian community in England as well ? .. Answer (Paes): There is a big Indian community but we're playing in Nottingham .. They were smart, they took it as far out of London as possible. We'll see, but I think we'll see plenty of Indian support out there and I think if we make it 1-1 after the first day, coming into the doubles we have a hell of a shot at the tie. .. Hmmm .. I am sure there are a few who can come down and wave the Indian flag out there in Nottingham .. Come on, British-Indians ! .. Let's do it ! ..

Here is a part of the Rusedski interview .. Question: Paes of course is playing some very good tennis, he has beaten Pete Sampras .. Ans (Rusedski): Hopefully Leander doesn't show up like he did against Sampras. I mean he plays unbelievably well and it's going to be a tough tie. I mean they've got their top five doubles team in the world and Leander and Davis Cup, for some reason go together. For some reason he is a player above the way he is on the Tour. Now he's transitioning that game onto the Tour, so it's going to be a difficult tie. .. Question: Have you ever played him before? Ans (Rusedski): I don't think we have. I think I might have played him in doubles but never in singles, so it's going to be exciting for both of us. .. Healthy respect from Rusedski .. Leander needs to get into his head and cause havoc .. That's the way to beat Greg .. :-)

It is still unclear what the British captain, David Lloyd, plans to do with regard to doubles .. There were some criticism of him in their world-group-promotion-tie against Ukraine earlier, when he had Henman and Rusedski for doubles and had the left-hander Rusedski playing the AD court .. Apparently they looked uncomfortable but won the match anayway .. The expectation is that the doubles specialist Neil Broad is certain to play doubles this time, though. A thing to remember: Henman and Neil Broad had won the doubles silver at the Atlanta Olympics .. They beat Kroslak/Kucera, Connell/Nestor and Goellner/Prinosil enroute to the final where they lost in straight sets to the Woodies (who were the ones who beat LP-MB there too, though they took a set off them) .. Anyway, those are some very good teams they beat, and it tells us that Henman/Broad could be a troublesome pair, not to be taken for granted, if David Lloyd choses them for doubles.

Sep 19 Notes

Got word today that Nirupama is in the main draw for the $50K Seattle challenger starting Monday .. She was #2 in the qualifier list, as of earlier in the week, but made it into the main draw after a couple of withdrawals. The draw will come out by Monday, and I will report it as soon as I get it ..

A small correction from yesterday on the British team for the Davis Cup .. Apparently Chris Wilkinson *is* in the team, except that it is a five-member team .. Not a big deal, as he probably won't get to play, anyway.

The Indian kids who came over for the US Open junior tournament (Kannan, Mahadevan, Zaman and Uzma Khan) were supposed to go to the Sugar Bowl junior tournamant in New Orleans, Louisians this week, I was told earlier. I cidn't see any news out of there earlier in the week, but I just saw the quarterfinal lineup at the Sugar Bowl, and none of the Indians seem to have made it that far (singles and doubles, girls and boys). That is a pretty competitive tournament, though.

Sep 18 Notes

Yesterday's Times of India reported that the Indian boys beat Brazil in the second tie at the 16-and-under NEC World Youth Cup at Cuneo, Italy .. That makes sure that they will position themselves in the 9th through 12th spots in the 16-team field .. The scores: [2nd tie] India b Brazil 2-1 (Karan Doctor lost to Jose Carlos Pinto 4-6, 6-3, 6-2; Kamala Kannan b Thiago Alves 7-5, 6-3; Kamala Kannan/ A.V. Rao b Thiago Alves and Vruno Soares 7-6 (7-5) 6-4) .. [1st tie] Croatia b India 3-0 (A. V. Rao lost to Roko Karanusic 2-6, 3-6; Kamala Kannan lost to Mario Radic 0-6, 1-6; A. V. Rao/ Kamala Kannan lost to Roko Karanusic/ Mario Radic 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 4-6) ..

In other news, Leander and Mahesh had a press conference at Mumbai on Thursday .. Mahesh's comment on the Davis Cup chances against England was that Leander is a top-15 player when it comes to Davis Cup, and so there is no need to worry that UK has two players (Henman and Rusedski) in the world top-15 .. Plus we certainly have the advantage in doubles .. Mahesh is confident of even beating England .. Not bad, dude !! .. Let's go get the pommies .. or whatever they are called.

Speaking of Davis Cup, the British squad announced by captain Lloyd consists of Tim Henman (ATP #11), Greg Rusedski (ATP #15), Miles MacLagan (#287) and Neil Broad (#33 in doubles) .. It was a surprise when MacLagan was included in the team instead of Chris Wilkinson ("Wilko" as they call him there), who is ranked #140 now .. They could have picked any of a couple of others like Barry Cowan and Andrew Richardson who are ranked around or inside the top-200 too .. The reason was that MacLagan has been playing well lately, and had just won the Bronx challenger. He had come up to inside the top-200 in 1995 as a 21 year old, but had a major elbow surgery in 96 and has won his first challenger since then 3 weeks back at Bronx .. I think Wilkinson may still be there, as they can change the team till the day before. Anyway, it doesn't matter as Henman and Rusedski will play the singles unless there is a dead-rubber match in the end .. We will also have to wait and see who plays doubles with Neil Broad.

There was a passing reference to the UK-India tie in an article by John McEnroe in the Telegraph, London last Sunday (titled, rather outrageously, as one would expect from Johnny Mac, "Why I should captain the US Davis Cup team" !) .. He wrote: "It's about time Britain got back into the World Group and they'll not have a better chance than a home tie against India, though Paes and Bhupathi are some doubles team. Tim Henman going out the way he did to Mark Philippoussis in the US Open disappointed me and I think his trouble is that he doesn't play enough doubles ... A couple of years ago he was a bit scrawny, and though his legs have definitely got stronger, he doesn't yet seem to have the strength he needs to break back into and sustain a place in the top 10, let alone go higher ... I've never been one to advocate lifting weights (as you can probably tell from my physique), I think the best way to get stronger is spend more time out on the court and that means playing more doubles. It helps you in every facet of your game, especially your reflexes and anticipation at the net. He came up wanting against Philippoussis, who drained him in the fourth set" .. Hey, Johnny Mac is basically counting India out .. Hope India pulls a Rafter on him (McEnroe allegedly said, "Rafter is a one-slam wonder", though he denies that .. Rafter put it all to rest last week, anyway !) .. I like Johnny Mac for speaking his mind on any issue and not trying to appease anybody by mincing his words, though.

Sep 17 Note-2

Finally some news from Cuneo, Italy, and it's not good - India lost the first round tie on Tuesday against Croatia in the 16-and-under NEC World Youth Cup (world group final-16) .. Here are the results: Italy b. Japan 2-1, Spain b. Australia 3-0, Slovenia b. Mexico 2-1, Russia b. Egypt 3-0, Argentina b. Brazil 3-0, France b. China 3-0, Croatia b. India 3-0, Usa b. Ecuador 2-1 .. The source is La Gazzeta dello Sport, Milan Italy, but they gave only the quarterfinal results between the 8 winners the next day - so we need to wait to find out where India ends up in the bottom 8 (the losers play among themselves to find positions in the bottom 8, I assume) ..

In other news, I saw a newsreport that the construction delays at Bangkok is causing some of the events at the Asiad to be moved to another place, and tennis and volleyball are among those events which will probably not be at Bangkok .. It will be at a city much further north in Thailand, called Chiang Mai .. hey, it so happens that we have a fanclub member right there in Chiang Mai ! .. That is Jan Kongtako, who had brought us news from the bangkok challenger earlier this year .. She is an LP-MB fan who hopefully won't suddenly change allegience to her homecountry, Thailand :-)

Sep 17 Note-1

There was a nice interview article in the Hindustan Times yesterday by S.Kannan, on what Ramesh Krishnan has been upto .. Here are some excerpts: Ramesh Krishnan, Chairman of the AlTA's Junior Development Committee, has submitted his proposals to the All India Tennis Association, emphasising on ensuring a regular number of tournaments for the potential champions ... Citing the International Tennis Federation's yardstick for development, Ramesh has suggested the 25 trainees to be imparted coaching in the five regional centres at Delhi, Calcutta, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai in the age group of 12 to 15 years get to play at least 60 to 70 singles matches per year. "All that is not possible without the calendar being decided well in advance," said that touch artist who was in the Capital yesterday on his way back to Chennai from Chandigarh, where he conducted a coaching camp ... Ramesh advocated the national calendar being restored. "We can have the Futures and the Challengers, but the domestic calendar should be chalked out well in advance. AITA should announce the schedule at least six months in advance, taking into account factors such as examination schedules of students, geography and climatic conditions," he said ... Another aspect, to which little attention has been paid by the AITA, is upgrading coaches. While agreeing it would not be possible for coaches to travel abroad for refresher courses due to the costs involved, he said it would be worthwhile to get a good coach from abroad to share his teaching skills with Indian coaches ... Talking about the Chandigarh camp, Ramesh said it was a good experience. "I was particularly impressed by Sunil Kumar. If he can grow and get to play more tournaments, he would be worth watching," felt Ramesh ...

It is so heartening to see someone as accomplished as Ramesh Krishnan handling the junior development program .. AITA should have had Ramesh doing these things much earlier, but we all know what happened between Ramesh and AITA after the 1993 Davis Cup .. Anyway, that's old story; at least things have all been patched up now, and we have somebody as loved and respected as Ramesh helping AITA now - that's terrific. As for his comments, he is dead on target about something to be done about the coaching situation in India. Tennis is one of the sports where the coaching and training techniques have been evolving fast in the last few years, and the coaches in India absolutely must get exposed to some of the modern thinking in tennis, including modern physical training, diets, new racquet technologies, vagaries of new hardcourt surfaces, claycourt play, serious use of game films, etc.

Ramesh's comments on the calendar also should be taken seriously. Indian sports authorities are notorious for delayed planning on everything and this has killed our sports .. Just this week we heard of our billiards and pool players reaching Bangalore for Asiad training (those are sports where we contend for medals!) and finding that the pool tables weren't ordered on time ! .. Then we heard today in newspaper reports about the IOC (Indian Olympic Committee) saying that they have made a decision to hire foreign coaches for every sport at the Asiad .. huh ? .. we are barely three months away from Asiad, and now we are starting to look for coaches ?? ..

Again, talking of Asiad, which is just over 2 months away, what is being done in tennis ? .. I was talking to a source very close to Nirupama earlier this week and was told that nobody has contacted her about the Asiad plans (forgot to ask Niru about it when I chatted with her); she assumes she will be leading the Indian women and has reserved the two weeks in December, but all she knows are some newspaper reports on the Asiad .. This was surprising .. We had heard a few weeks back about an AITA announcement in the Indian newspapers that Nirupama and Mahesh were going to be paired for mixed doubles .. Except that nobody has told Niru about it .. She would only be happy to be playing mixed doubles, and I have a feeling that the pair could be fantastic with a very high chance for a medal .. But, shouldn't somebody contact the players first and let them know ? .. I heard from Leander that he will be there and that mahesh is also expected .. I should check if Mahesh knows about the mixed doubles plans, but I won't be surprised if he has not heard anything either ! .. At least these three know that they will be there .. what about the others ?  Do we have a team in women's doubles ? .. Is anyone planning to have any training sessions anywhere ? .. Remember that it makes such a big difference for a doubles team to get even two or three days of good practice .. The Indian women will all be at the $75K Delhi challenger the week before Asiad, which means they will be catching a flight to Asiad right after that .. someone needs to look into the player schedules .. Anyway, here is tennis, an event where we have a chance for quite a few medals and it is not comforting to hear that things may not be well-planned even at this late stage ...

Sep 16 Notes

The International tennis Weekly from ATP this week has confirmed that three teams have already qualified for the Hartford doubles world championship in November, and of course, the Indian Express is one of them .. #1 Dutchmen, #2 Woodies and the #3 Ind-Ex .. Congrats, dudes !

There was a nice Leander interview article a couple of weeks back (Sep 4th) in the Singapore Straits Times .. Since this is a slow week, let's read it .. It is titled "Paes Plans for More: Indian has new-found confidence after victory over Sampras", by Tay Cheng Khoon .. Here is the full article, quoted without permission (the article has disappeared from their online archives now):

The first thought to flit through Leander Paes' mind after tucking away the winner against Pete Sampras, was: "Gee whiz, I've beaten one of my idols. It's all worthwhile now." ... That 6-3, 6-4 win over the American tennis great in New Haven, Connecticut, last month meant a lot to the 26-year-old Indian whose whole life has revolved around a sport he still considers more a "love than a career" ... In a telephone interview from New York yesterday, he told Timesport how he was uprooted from his family home in Calcutta at the age of 12 to attend the Vijay Amritraj Academy in Madras ... He remained there for six years before moving on to the Hopman Academy in Florida. When asked what the win over Sampras had done for him, Paes said: "When I come to Singapore for the Heineken Open next month, I will be bringing with me a new confidence." ... "I won my first ATP Tour event -- the Newport -- in July. And now I've beaten a player who has long been my hero. I now know I can play with the best and get a result." ... "The question is how to do it more consistently." ... Paes believes he is technical ready. What needs to be done is to sharpen his reflexes on court -- to be able to switch to muscle memory when the big occasions arise ... As he explained: "With the game becoming so fast, so powerful, you have only seconds to decide what shots to play. And this choice -- whether to attack and go for a winner or just return and be patient -- is important. You've to got to get it right as often as possible." ... His recent performances have also seen him moving up the world rankings to No. 76 -- a career best. More significantly, he has earned US $411,000 (S$711,030) this season, putting him at No. 34 on the money list which, unlike the rankings, is based on this year's results only ... But Paes is in a bit of a fix, for his doubles partnership with Mahesh Bhupathi is ranked third in the world ... So what would he rather be: No. 1 in doubles or top-20 in singles? ... "I want to be both," he said. But had to choose one ... "No, I want both," he replied, standing his ground. "I'm a very competitive player and I don't see why I can't achieve both. My doubles play is more or less established so I don't see why we can't make No.1." ... "As for the singles, well, I just have to work harder." ... The 1996 Olympic bronze medallist was, however, less forceful when asked for his views on women's tennis. Should they receive the same prize money as the men, as in the US Open? Do they deserve it? ... "It's debatable," he said. "I'm sure they work just as hard at their games as us. But then, they play a best-of-three sets while we play best-of-five." ... "Also, if you look at the results of their first- and second-round matches, you'll find Steffi Graf or Martina Hingis or any of the other top players winning 6-1, 6-0 most weeks. They don't have the depth as in men's tennis." ... Then, in a cheeky reference to his coveted win, he added: "Where can you find a No. 100 beating a No. 2?" ... Paes, however, conceded that women's tennis has more attractive personalities and young talent these days -- such as Hingis, the Williams sisters and Anna Kournikova ... "What the men lack right now," he admitted, "is the fierce rivalry we used to have at the very top: Borg versus Connors and McEnroe or Edberg versus Lendl. Perhaps the ATP should play up more the competition between Sampras and Marcelo Rios. They've been sharing the No. 1 spot recently." ... So who will win the US Open next week? ... His views: "The courts are very fast, set up for the serve-and-volley players. I'll pick Sampras. Patrick Rafter has had a tough schedule leading to his title defence and I don't think Goran Ivanisevic can maintain top tennis for two weeks ... "But then," he added, "I've never once had a prediction correct."

LP was right and wrong on that prediction at US Open .. A serve-and-volleyer indeed won the title - except it was Rafter, and not Sampras (who is really not a serve-and-volleyer in the Edberg or Rafter mode, though Pete can be tremendous in serve-and-volley if he chooses to do it) .. LP was also right in counting poor Goran out (but everybody counts him out these days :-)) ..

Leander's observation about developing muscle memory for the big points is what I consider a key point in this article, though. In fact, I intended to write on this earlier, as a reason for some of the close losses LP/MB have had in doubles, in matches where they have had their chances. There is a difference in this team from what some people think is the problem with many Indian athletes - the ever-so-infamous "lack of killer instinct" .. LP/MB probably has a bit too much of it. The big points they have lost are mostly not due to them tightening up, but rather because of them going for the aggressive winners .. It sometimes works, and sometimes doesn't, but one can't blame a team for going for it rather than play "not to lose", and in the long run they will win more and more of those .. A case in point is how they played with triple break points in the second set against Stolle/Suk .. Went for it every time and things just did not work out - LP had an easy volley to dump over the net that his aggressive reflex pushed into the net. Some may remember the tremendous semifinal win at Hartford against Lareau/O'Brien, when they were up 6-2 in the final set tiebreak and lost 3 points in a row on aggressive shots .. What did they do? - went for a killer shot one more time and won the tiebreak 7-5 ! .. That was LP's unforgettable "Egyptian Magician" shot. It worked there. Their style is to attack and go for it, regardless of how big the point is - almost as though they have "ice water in their veins", to use a cliche .. My (perhaps completely naive) opinion would be to *never* let up on the aggression, but to wait for experience to bring out the "muscle memory" needed to hold back for easy winners .. If they ever lose their attacking style, they will lose many more matches, and probably against lesser opponents too, whom they eat alive now. Though LP was probably talking about developing muscle memory to select winners in the context of singles play, it may be even more applicable for the doubles play .. As I always say, my opinions on this are coming from a guy who can hardly get a serve across the net :-) .. So take it with a huge pinch of salt !

Sep 15 Note-3

Heard from Nirupama today .. She has been spending the last three weeks in New York, working on improving some parts of her game she wanted to work on. She also got to spend a few days being coached by David O'Meara, who had last coached her at the time of the Australian Open .. He is not her coach on contract (he is under contract from TennisCanada as a travelling coach for Jocelyn Robichaud, from what I had heard a while back), but has coached her occasionally, when things could be coordinated .. Anyway, Nirupama is scheduled to play at the $50K Seattle challenger and the $75K Santa Clara challenger (in the San Fransisco bay area) over the next two weeks .. She is right now the second seed in the qualies for Seattle starting this weekend .. Then she will be taking time off for the rest of October to focus on training and Yoga (and reading, which Nirupama likes to do) .. This will be followed by three $25K challengers in Australia in November and the $75K Challenger in Delhi in the first week of December .. My calendar shows the three Australian challengers to be at Mount Gambier (Nov 9-15), Port Pirie (Nov 16-22) and Nuriootpa (Nov 23 - 29) .. She should be in the direct draw at those challengers and at the $75K Indian challenger at New Delhi, where I assume she will have a wildcard entry, if not a direct entry.

Talking of the Indian events the 4 week $20K satellite series for women is finally firmly on the ITF calendar, it seems .. The first three weeks are at the AGETA courts in Ahemedabad (Oct 12-18), Deccan Gymkhana at Pune (Oct 19-25), and at the Yeshwant Club in Indore .. The satellites end with the Masters at and at New Delhi (not sure which courts in Delhi) .. The event at Pune is a change from the original schedule which had it at Mumbai .. Anyway, good to see the events firmly listed in the ITF calendar now. Same with the $75K women's event at New Delhi, the largest women's tournament to be held in India (perhaps ever?) .. So far AITA has been following through on their promise to hold these events.

Sep 15 Note-2

The Indian 16-and-under team must be at the NEC World Youth Cup final group (I believe 16 teams that advanced from regionals around the world), which started at Cuneo, Italy, yesterday .. Haven't been able to find any news on that yet, but will keep looking for that. Akshay Vishal Rao, Karan Doctor, and Kamala Kannan were in the team that advanced from the regionals at Japan in May .. I had heard last week that A V Rao was on his way to Cuneo, but no news on who else is in the team this time.

Sep 15 Note-1

The new rankings are out - Leander falls a bit, but not too much, after losing his 71 points from the US Open last year .. LP is at #84 this week .. Now he has only about 45 points to defend till next march .. In doubles, LP fell a spot to #9, as Daniel Nestor inched above him .. Mahesh is at #6 in doubles, and #362 in singles .. The team ranking remains at #3 .. All others (Srinath, Fazal, etc) are at around the same rankings as before, as they have not played anywhere.

On the WTA side, Nirupama is at #177 this week. I have not seen the complete list of doubles rankings from WTA posted anywhere, but I would think her doubles rank should be at around #240 ..

The Hindu had interviewed Leander in India .. Here are some excerpts from today: (on the Nottingham Davis Cup tie against UK) ``We'll be trying to win one of the matches on the first day because going into the doubles at 1-1 is a terrific position,'' Paes told The Hindu here today. Paes and partner Mahesh Bhupathi who reached the semifinals of the US Open men's doubles competition would fancy their chances in the doubles, whether Britain pair Henman with Neil Broad or with Rusedski ... ``I still regret at having to miss a Davis Cup tie,'' Paes said, ``but in hindsight even though it was very tough, it was the right decision to take at the time.'' ... Playing and beating Sampras he said had given his confidence a big boost, ``Pete Sampras is still one of my all time favourites, it was a big honour playing him. Beating him made a lot difference to my self-belief. It gave me the confidence that all the work I had put in and the kind of work that I have put in over the years was right and was working.'' ... The loss to Cyril Suk and Sandon Stolle in the doubles semis, however, said Paes, `really hurt.' It was the Indian duo's fourth semifinal loss in a Grand Slam event and the third time they had lost to the eventual winners ... ``Everything seemed to be working our way particularly with the draw, and the last time we played Suk and Stolle in Rome, they never had a chance.'' Success in a Grand Slam event for the two, was Paes said, ``a matter of time. We are playing doubles at such a high and solid level, winning Tour events and reaching Slam semifinals, that I'm sure its only a question of time, when it will click for us. Right now, we are falling one step short. But this one I'm trying to forget!'' ..

Sep 14 Notes

Forgot to keep up with Vijay Amritraj's performance at the US Open - on Sunday, Vijay and Jose Higueras of Spain won the 45s doubles title ! .. There were 12 teams in the draw divided into 4 groups (Red, Blue, Yellow, Green), with each team playing the other two in the group and one advancing to the semi from each group .. Here are the results for Vijay: [Round Robin] V.Amritraj/ J.Higueras d. Marty Riessen/ Sherwood Stewart 46, 63, 76(2) .. V.Amritraj/J.Higueras d. K.Roswall/F.Stolle 61, 62 .. [Semifinal] V.Amritraj/ J.Higueras d. Brian Gottfried/Sandy Mayer, 63, 76(3) .. [Final] V.Amritraj/ J.Higueras d. Tom Gullikson/ Dick Stockton, 64, 64 .. Good job, Vijay ! .. congrats ..

Sep 13 Notes

Not much news - will be the same for a few days - nobody playing much ..

The schedule for Leander and Mahesh for the rest of the year has been updated .. Check it out. Basically there is a full slate of tournaments after the Davis Cup, the weekend after next (Sep 25-27) .. Both will take a week off after Davis Cup and then play at Shanghai (Leander was in the semifinal there in 97, but that was in January and the tournament has been moved by several months to October now - so he has nothing to defend there, but will hopefully do well on the indoor carpet surface that he liked last time).. This will be followed by Singapore and then a challenger in Hong Kong .. The challenger is a new addition, because apparently the Beijing tournament is now cancelled because they lost the title sponsor or something like that. LP/MB have titles to defend in doubles from Beijing and Singapore (153 and 289 points), but will now try doubles at Shanghai and Singapore. I assume they will not play doubles at the Hong Kong challenger. After that it will be the European indoor carpet Super 9s - at Stuttgart and Paris. Those two Super 9s traditionally have the toughest singles draws to get into, closing around ATP 60 or 70 normally. That means LP will have to play qualifiers for singles entry (he is already in the draw at Singapore, Shanghai and Hong Kong). LP/MB only have about 100+ points to defend in doubles in those two, and will hopefully pick up a bunch of points there, as each Super 9 titles fetch around 400 to 450 total points. After the Super 9s, it will be a trip up to the Kremlin Cup at Moscow, where they planned to play last year, but dropped in favor of the Asia Cup non-ATP event in India - LP should make it in the singles draw there too, easily .. No idea who will be playing at Asia Cup this year, by the way .. Then the big event - The Hartford ATP doubles championship .. Then a week off, followed by two weeks at the Asiad in Japan .. I am told both LP and MB will be at the Asiad !! .. There are some assured Golds for India ! .. The year will end with the two challengers in India in late December. I would think LP may take those weeks off, if he has picked up enough singles points (say 200+) by then and is up inside the top 60 or so in ranking .. He will need a break to recharge the batteries for next year, by then.

.. Previous notes at Weekly Notes, ending Sep 14 ..