Notes for week ending on Oct 20, 1997
(Last week's Notes) (Next week's Notes) (Notes Index)
Oct 20 Morning Notes
Ferreira/Galbraith did win the Lyon tournament to make it 8 wins in a row and 2 titles, but they could not overtake LP/MB, probably because the 14-tournament limit must have came into play and some points from some tournament fell off their team total. They are just a few points behind our Duo at #5 and Lareau/O'brien has now gone down to #6. Galbraith did move over both Mahesh and Leander to the #9 spot in the individual ranks; so MB is now at #10 and LP is now at #11. In singles, MB's point total remained at 182 and he moved down to #230. Leander lost 13 points from the Tanagura Challenger a year back, and is down to 423 points this week; however, he only moved down one spot to #105 this week. It is almost incredible how Leander has stayed in the 100-110 range for almost 10 months.. He loses some points somewhere, and he replaces it with something else. When he had some 70 points to defend at Newport, he repeated a semifinal apperance and got back mosts of those points; when he had 67 points to defend in the first two weeks of September, he got 71 from the US Open to keep his point total right there.. He had 13 to defend this week, so he got 17 a couple of weeks back.. Now he has 66 falling off on Nov 24th.. rest assured he will get those back somewhere.. He does not have too many opportunities to move his ranking much higher this year, though. Mahesh needs to get some 50+ points somewhere to have a realistic chance at getting the Asian wildcard at the Australian Open. Assuming Leander will be around #105 and get a direct entry, right now he is behind Yong-Yil Yoon (#197) in Asia (unless they count Ogorodov, #138, of Uzebekistan, and two Israelis, Eyal Ran, #181, and Raviv Viedenfield, #190, as Asians).. By the way, one has to really appreciate this gesture by the Australian folks in giving the wildcard for an Asian in the top-200 (Leander got it this year).. and compare it to what the people in Singapore did (see last week's notes to see what they did with etheir wildcards) !
The doubles draw at Stuttgart has not been published anywhere (including at the ATP site) yet, but the doubles competition has started. Will post the draw here, as soon as it becomes available. Woodbridge, Woodforde, Kafelnikov, Haarhuis, and O'Brien are all in the singles draw; so probably the Woodies, Elting/Haarhuis, and Kafelnikov/Vacek are all in the singles draw. Our guys should be at least the #5 seed there.
Oct 19 Notes
Bad news today. Leander lost in the final round of the singles qualifiers at Stuttgart today. The direct entry into the main draw of 48 closed at around ATP #40, making it probably the toughest tournament to get into this year !.. Leander lost to Jeff Tarango (ATP #47), 6-3, 6-4... The other results of the final qualifiers for the 6 spots are (I have added the ATP ranks of the qualifiers, which shows how tough the competition has been out there): O'Brian(#88) d. Martin 7-5, 6-4.. Prinosil (#52) d. van Lottum, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.. Schalken(#57) d. Lareau, 5-7, 7-6, 6-2; and Haarhuis(#68) d. Nestor, 7-6, 6-1.. Incredibly competitive qualifiers there. Leander had beaten Jeff Tarango the previous 2 or 3 times they have played (Mauritius challanger last year, and Shanghai ATP this year), but couldn't pull off one more upset over him, this time. Tarango, despite his worst-attitude-and-manners reputation, has been one of the hardest working players on the tour (playing singles and doubles virtually every week this year, it seems..) and has come up from closer to ATP #100 last year all the way to top-50 now. Leander will now wait for Mahesh to join him soon, and will be playing the final-16 round on Tuesday, or more probably Wednesday. They will be one of the 8 seeds getting a first round bye in the 24 team doubles draw.
Incidentally, the other hot doubles pair, #6 ranked Ferreira/Galbraith have reached the finals of the $725K Lyon tourney. They are playing Delaitre/Santoro in the finals. Santoro was in the singles finals too, and won earlier today. I would expect F/G to beat them and win the title. The importance of this is that, if they win the finals, they will overtake the #4 spot in doubles and push our Duo to #5. They have 2096 points and LP/MB have 2355 points now, but about 275 points from Lyon would put them a few points over LP/MB. Also, Leander only had a few points lead over Patrick Galbraith at the #10 individual ranking spot. Galbraith already has 180+ points for reaching the finals, and unless he has a large point total to defend from last year, will go over Leander. Probably over mahesh too. This means LP may fall to #11 this week. need to watch out for Fer/Gal who have now won 7 in a row, after a rather patchy summer.
Indian News: Vikram Venkataraghavan ("Vicky Venky", as the crowd called him there..) won the grasscourt Chandigarh Open, beating Vishal Uppal of Delhi. "Vicky" (son of cricketer S.Venkataraghavan) is a 22-yr old electrical engineer from the US.
Regional news: Paradorn Srichaphan won the South East Asian Games gold for Thailand, beating Joseph Lizardo of Philippines. Wibowo/Wiryawan of Indonesia beat Paradorn and Narathorn Srichaphans for the Gold in doubles. Paradorn could well be a hurdle next year for Leander at the Asian games, for the tennis Gold. That kid is good..
Oct 17 Notes
Again, nothing much happening this week. The Indian Express reports that the dates for the challengers at Mumbai and Ahemedabad have been interchanged (see the updated schedules page where the Indian tennis schedule has now been added). The Mumbai challenger will be in the last week of November, and the Ahemedabad challenger will be on the first week of December. This is not a bad thing for our guys, as the Mumbai tournament is on hardcourt and Ahemedabad is on clay (I believe..).. So Leander and Mahesh can fly back from Hartford the previous week straight to Bombay and not worry about going up to Ahemedabad to get used to clay in a hurry. Still have no news on the Madras challenger which the players' association was trying to organize after PL Reddy gave that challenger allotted to him by ATP. Got to assume it is not going to happen, as nobody has reported anything lately. Normally all the ATP tournaments get done by November end, but this year the schedule seems to be going well into December. Just found out that there is a $50K challenger, for instance, at Elait in Israel in the second week of December ! .. Will update later if Mahesh plans to go up there, before proceeding to Dubai for the exhibition/camp the week after (Leander cannot be in Israel as he will be in South Africa for the Mandela charity event that week).. ATP has not updated their challenger/satellite schedules page since May, and we don't have the schedule for other upcoming challengers.. Also heard that Goran Ivanisevic and Wayne Ferreira will also join other tennis players announced earlier (Richard Krajicek, Todd Martin, Yannick Noah, MaliVai Washington, Andre Agassi, Boris Becker, Leander Paes, Amanda Coetzer and Iva Majoli) at the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund event (Dec 12-14).
Other Indian tennis news: Unseeded Vikram Venkatraghavan (TN) beat Rishi Sridhar 6-4, 6-4 in the semi-final at Chandigarh (Rs 2.5 lakh AITA ranking tournament). Vikram had pulled an upset over #1 seed Vasudev Reddy and then won convincigly over talented Vijay Kannan. #2 seeded youngster Vishal Uppal (Delhi) won 7-6 (2), 6-4 against #3 Rohan Wadhera in the other semi. The Indian tennis schedule (courtesy: Indian Express): Oct 20-26: Rs 1.25 lakh prize money Haryana Open at Yamunanagar. Oct 27-Nov 2: Rs 4.75-lakh National Hard Court at Mumbai. Nov 3-11: US$84,000 Asia Cup for men and women at Delhi. Dec 29-January 2: $10,000 ITF Men's Future Circuit at Delhi. Jan 5-9: $10,000 ITF Men's Future Circuit at Chandigarh. Jan 12-16: $10,000 ITF Men's Future Circuit at Indore. Feb 16-23: $10K WTA challenger, Delhi. Mar 1-7: $10K WTA challenger in Mumbai. Note that "Men's Future Circuit" is the new name for what used to be satellites before. It is now split into three separate events, rather than a three-week single Satellite event. The Two women's tour challengers were scheduled for late Nov and Dec this year, but was moved to next year, after the two ATP challengers in India were scheduled, rather late this year.
Oct 15 Notes
Not much news today. There seems to be a snag in our plans to get some match reports from Stuttgart next week, as the Leander - Mahesh fan out there who could have done it for us has to be away. We will see if anything turns up...
#6 Ferreira/Galbraith beat Randall/Waite, 6-1, 6-3 at Lyon and are in the quarterfinals. There is a promising combination at Lyon, Rafter/Tebbut. They are in the semifinals already. Rafter and Philippoussis, who have been in the top10 this year and have been very successful in the past, have not done that well over the past couple of months. Let's see how the Rafter - Tebbut team does.
Here are some excerpts from the Hindustan Times today:
Despite the unprecedented success as a doubles combination, Mahesh and Leander asserted that singles remained their first priority... "It has been hard work for us and to an extent we sacrificed our singles play. But we believe that we can plan with the big boys.'' said Mahesh.... Leander was especially happy that he and Mahesh had hit it off so well. "Being together on the Tour has helped me. It is not lonesome on the road as it used to be,'' he said with obvious relief... Casting a look at the Indian scene, the duo emphasised the need for a system to groom talent. "I was not a product of any system since my father tutored me initially while we were in Dubai. But we need to have a system which will help develop talented youngsters,'' Mahesh said... When asked what could be expected of the two in the coming months, Leander said, "Don't expect anything, but please appreciate what we have achieved."
Their comment on developing/improving the grooming system in India is very important. This is the time to make sure that youngsters become aware of what can be accomplished as a tennis pro. By the way, there were reports last week that the 2.5 lakh grass-court Chandigarh Open had an unprecedented number of entries in the qualifiers. That is good news. Indian Tennis tidbit: Quarterfinal results at Chandigarh (from Indian Express): Vikram Venkataraghavan (TN) bt Vijay Kannan (Dhaita) 6-4, 6-2, Rishi Sridhar (TN) bt Saurav Panja (WB) 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, Rohan Wadhera (Mah) bt Abou Berthe (Del) 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, Vishal Uppal (Del) bt Anand Radhakrishnan (WB) 6-3, 6-7 (6-8) 6-4... Vijay Kannan is a talented kid, but Vikram Venkataraghavan (the son of the good ol' spin maestro!) is having a good tournament on a grass surface that he likes best.
Oct 14 Notes
The news is not good about singles for Mahesh at Stuttgart next week. The Hindu reports that he is not going there over the coming weekend for the qualifiers, as he will not make it into the qualifier draw. That is rather unexpected, but these 48-draw Super 9 tournaments are the toughest to get into, as the qualifier main draw can close under ATP #200 (unlike the grandslams with 16 qualifiers and 128 people in the qualifier draws that close normally at around #250). Leander will be at the qualifiers this weekend, and Mahesh will join him early next week for the doubles. If Mahesh were physically well, this would have been a good week to play a challenger such as the $100K one in Cairo this week, but he needs some rest for the time being.
They both were found golfing in Bangalore.. Here are some excerpts from The Hindu today:
``It was very important for me to have Leander in the top 10. We had worked so hard together. I had reached top 10 last week and we knew that if we won the Singapore tournament, Leander also would get into the top 10. That is why we gave extra effort to win that title'', said Mahesh Bhupathi, as he savoured the sweet feeling of being in the top 10 of the world doubles rankings, along with his soul-mate...``It feels great. It is a dream come true'', said Mahesh, who reached Bangalore along with Leander on Sunday night, hours after winning the sixth ATP title of the year, and career.... ``It feels great to be in the top 10 of the world in doubles. It is nice to do it with Mahesh. We are sure to reach the No.1. We know that we have to work harder for it. But we will do it'', thundered Leander... With Mahesh having fever and not feeling well for two weeks, struggling right from Beijing after leaving India and Leander upsetting his stomach, the Indian pair opted to take a week off, to recharge the batteries for the greater challenges ahead... ``We were lucky to win the two tournaments'', said Mahesh as he looked back at the fine run in Beijing and Singapore, where the Indian duo dropped only a solitary set in eight matches....``We played a great match in the final at Singapore. We knew that we had to play at our best against Leach and Stark. We played great to win the title'', said Mahesh...It has been a dream for the Indian duo right from the Gold Flake Open in Chennai in April, and the titles have come in such a flow that the numbers are often mistaken. But, Mahesh assured, ``you can expect the best from us''.
Nice confidence ("We are sure to reach the No.1. We know that we have to work harder for it. But we will do it"..).. That's the spirit !... Nothing else for now.. There won't be much news for a few days till the action heats up in Stuttgart.
Oct 13 Note-2
See today's Note-1 with the new ranking, etc, in Last week's Notes.
LP and MB have decided to skip the Ostrava tournament in the Czech Republic this week. They are both not fully recovered from the ailments from a few days back, and have decided to play golf for a couple of days in India, after which they go to Stuttgart to try out the singles qualifiers. The direct entry in the 48-men $2.05 Million Stuttgart Super 9 tournament seems to be closing below ATP #60 or so, which means even the competition in the qualifiers will be tough. Paes/Bhupathi should be seeded very high and will get a first round bye in the 24-draw doubles there, which will help if they qualify and have to play singles also there.
Leander has 13 points defend this week from the Tanagura (Japan) challenger during this week last year, where he won two rounds. If he qualifies for Stuttgart this weekend, he will get enough points to replace those, but even those points will still not show up on the computer till Oct 27th. That means his singles rank will drop a few spots to around 110 next week. He really does need to get some singles points from somewhere. The 66 points from the Mauritius challenger last year is also dropping out in a few weeks. The doubles success has hurt him somewhat lately in singles; Same with Mahesh, and probably to an even larger extent... but what the heck, it's not that often that you get a chance to look for a world #1 ranking. Go for it in doubles, Leander and Mahesh !