Thursday, December 27, 2007

Somdev Dev Varman to miss Chennai Open

Rafael Nadal leads a phalanx of tennis stars at India's premier tennis event, the 2008 Chennai Open, but several Indian players will be giving the ATP Tour season opener the cold shoulder. Unfortunately, upcoming player Somdev Dev Varman is now on that list.

Dev Varman admits that the lack of a wildcard was one of the reasons that will keep him away from Nungambakkam Stadium next week.

"Yeah, that and some other things that I had to do also," the reigning NCAA champion told the Indian Tennis Blog. "I am training right now and plan on playing a Futures in Florida and then start the tennis season in school."

The wildcards for the main draw of the 2008 Chennai Open, to be held from December 31 to January 6, have gone the way of India's no. 2 player Prakash Amritraj and Grasscourt National Champion Vishnu Vardhan.

The third, which could have gone to another Indian player like Dev Varman, has been granted to Spaniard Bartolome Salva-Vidal.

The decision puts yet another dampener on a tournament already missing the best known names in Indian tennis.

While doubles specialist Leander Paes starts off his 2008 season on the Australian circuit with new partner Paul Hanley, singles no. 1 Rohan Bopanna will be busy partnering Sania Mirza at the Hopman Cup. And Mahesh Bhupathi will be making his comeback from injury the week after the Chennai event.

Dev Varman is currently ranked a measly 1034 on the ATP Tour, thanks to his decision not to turn professional till mid-2008, when he finishes his stint at the University of Virginia.

But the 22-year-old won the NCAA championship in May 2007 - the first Indian to triumph at the premier American collegiate event and emulate the likes of John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Arthur Ashe.

INTERVIEW (Oct 2007)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sania Mirza in trouble but Dad says mischief at work

Media reports suggest that Sania Mirza is in trouble for shooting an ad on the premises of Hyderabad's famous Mecca Masjid. The Minorities Welfare Department of Andhra Pradesh has apparently lodged a complaint seeking action against the 21-year-old player for entering the mosque without permission.

But father Imran Mirza told the Indian Tennis blog the controversy was the "creation of certain troublemakers in the media".

"The shoot was never done at Mecca Masjid. It was done with the Charminar as the backdrop of the ad," he said.

"The Mecca Masjid is bang opposite the Charminar and some mischievous journalists shot photographs of Sania from the other side to make it seem as though the shooting was inside the mosque."

India's number one tennis player is currently recovering from injury and hasn't played since October. But it seems Sania, who is expected to partner Rohan Bopanna at the Hopman Cup later this month, will now have to battle some aces off the tennis court as well.

"It's unfortunate but this is the price one has to pay for being famous," said Mirza.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bhupathi not sure about playing Chennai Open

Doubles specialist Mahesh Bhupathi may not be playing at India's premier tennis event, the ATP Chennai Open, which kicks off on December 31.

Bhupathi, still recovering from back surgery, said he is determined to make it to the Australian Open in January with new partner Mark Knowles of the Bahamas. But the decision to play in Chennai would be taken at the last minute.

"I have been hitting with Rohan (Bopanna) and others... and will be pushing myself over the next few days," the 33-year-old told The Telegraph from Bangalore on Monday.

Bhupathi, currently ranked 21st in the world, has won the Chennai Open four times - all with estranged partner Leander Paes.

The US $436,000 hardcourt tournament in Chennai has been an annual feature since 1997 and only the four doubles titles in 1997, 98, 99 and 2002 have been won by Indians.

A wrist injury had kept Bhupathi from playing the 2007 edition of the tournament while Paes skipped the event to play in Doha.

In case both Paes and Bhupathi opt out in 2008, India's title hopes at Chennai would have rested in the hands of Rohan Bopanna -- currently ranked a career-best 66 in doubles. But the 27-year-old has already committed to partnerng Sania Mirza for the Hopman Cup team event - which clashes with the Chennai Open. Bopanna and Prakash Amritraj were the losing finalists at Chennai in 2006.
For everything ever written on The Indian Tennis Blog, click here
For posts on Sania Mirza, click here
For posts on Leander Paes, click here
For posts on Somdev Devvarman, click here
For posts on Tara Iyer, click here
For posts on Mahesh Bhupathi, click here
For posts on Rohan Bopanna, click here
For posts on Prakash Amritraj, click here
For posts on Sunitha Rao, click here

With Somdev Devvarman (January 13, 2009 and October 4, 2007)

Check upper-right corner of this blog

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