Monday, June 23, 2008

Wimbledon 2008 starts with four Indians in focus

Sania Mirza, Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna are in action at Wimbledon this week although it's tough to predict whether any of them will survive till the second week of the grasscourt Grand Slam.

Prakash Amritraj and Sunitha Rao crashed out in the second round of singles qualifying but two other Indians - Yuki Bhambri and Poojashree Venkatesh - will also be battling it out in the junior events.

Mirza, returning from a long break after wrist surgery, will be hoping to better her previous showing at Wimbledon -- reaching the second round in 2005 and 2007.

She's played two tournaments since rejoining the WTA tour and her performance hasn't been exactly impressive.

But the number 32 seed has a slightly easier draw at Wimbledon this year and her most formidable opponent should be defending champion Venus Williams in the third round.

Beating Venus on grass would seem impossible for the Indian number one but Mirza should be more than happy if she makes the elder Williams sweat it out over three sets on Centre Court.

As usual, there's no representation from India in the men's singles - although Bopanna would have been a good bet to make it through the qualifiers, had he played them. But a low ranking forced him to miss the Grand Slam this year. Last week, Bopanna replaced Amritraj as India's number one and hopefully he should be around for the U.S. Open qualifiers.

Bopanna, 28, will be making his debut at Wimbledon in the men's doubles with Pakistan's Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi.

Mahesh Bhupathi is recovering from a few injuries of his own and it remains to be seen if he and Mark Knowles, seeded fourth here, can recapture the form that saw them bag two doubles titles earlier this year.

Leander Paes, who turned 35 last week, seems to be in better form after breaking his lacklustre partnership with Australian Paul Hanley. The Kolkatan partnered Bhupathi to the Ordina Open final last week and reached the Halle final with Czech player Lukas Dlouhy in their first outing. Paes and Dlouhy are seeded ninth here.

This week, Indian tennis fans will also be keeping an eye on the USA F15 Futures in Rochester where double NCAA champion Somdev Dev Varman is playing his first professional match since leaving college.


  1. Hello. My name is Van and I've been following your blog recently. Great stuff! Like you, my blog is linked to On the Baseline.

    I have a question for you: Why were Paes and Bhupathi playing together last weekend? I thought they hated each other! The Olympics is still a ways away.

  2. Hi Van,

    Yes, Paes and Bhupathi are trying to play together in some events in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics. They might also team up in some events in the coming weeks but you may be sure this partnership is only for the Olympics and not after that :)


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

Popular Posts