Sania to retire after 2022 season, says body is wearing down
Melbourne, Jan 19 (Tennis News) India tennis star Sania Mirza on Wednesday announced that 2022 will be her last season since her body is "wearing down" and motivation and energy for the everyday grind is not the same anymore.
Mirza, 35, had returned to tennis after giving birth to her son in March 2019 but her progress was later thwarted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Mirza made the retirement announcement after losing the Australian open women's doubles first round with partner Nadiia Kichenok.
"There's a bunch reasons for it. It's not as simple as 'okay I'm not going to play'. I do feel my recovery is taking longer, I do feel, considering my son is three years old, I'm putting him at risk by travelling so much with him, that's something I have to take into account," Mirza said at the post-match press conference.
"My body is wearing down. My knee was really hurting today and I'm not saying that's the reason we lost but I do think that it is taking time to recover as I'm getting older," she said.
Also Read : Bopanna-Vasselin pair's campaign ends in first round
News Source : PTI
Mirza-Kichenok to open against Zidansek-Juvan in Australian Open
Melbourne, Jan 16 (Tennis News) Veteran Indian tennis player Sania Mirza and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok have been seeded 12th in the women's doubles event of the Australian Open and have been pitted against Slovenia's strong singles players Kaja Juvan and Tamara Zidansek.
Sania and Kichekon have entered the first Grand Slam of the season after reaching the semifinals of the first Adelaide WTA event and making a first round exit from the second.
Zidansek is ranked 29th in the world in the singles chart while Juvan is also a top-100 player at number 89.
In the men's doubles, 41-year-old Rohan Bopanna and his French partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin have been placed in the bottom half of the draw where they will play against wild card pair of Indonesia's Christopher Rungkat and Philippines' Treat Huey in their first round match.
The mixed doubles draw has not been made as yet and it is highly unlikely that Bopanna and Mirza would enter together since their combined ranking won't be enough to enter the event as a team.
No Indian player could make the singles main draw with Yuki Bhambri, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ankita Rain falling in the qualifiers.
Also Read : Tie break thrillers continue to take the spotlight in Australia
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Last week's performers, Bopanna and Sania bite dust in Adelaide-2 event
Adelaide, Jan 11 (Tennis News) Veteran Indian tennis players Sania Mirza and Rohan Boapnna, who enjoyed good runs on the Pro circuit last week, bowed out of the second Adelaide ATP and WTA events after first round defeats with their respective partners, here on Tuesday.
Sania and Ukrainian Nadiia Kichenok, the second seeds, lost the opening round of the WTA 250 event 3-6 3-6 to Czech pair of Tereza Martincova and Marketa Vondrousova in 61 minutes.
They had reached the semifinals last week.
At the men's event, Bopanna and his French partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin lost their first round 4-6 6-3 3-10 in 69 minutes to Americans Steve Johnson and Austin Krajicek, who served extremely well and handled returns smartly.
Bopanna had won the men's doubles with compatriot Ramkumar Ramanathan.
Bopanna made too many errors in the Super Tie-Breaker, in which they fell behind 1-6 from where it was extremely tough to make a comeback.
Both Bopanna and Sania will now play at the season's first Grand Slam, the Australian Open.
Also Read : Goffin and Fognini celebrate comeback with victories at Sydney
News Source : PTI
Barty knocks out defending champion at Adelaide International 1
(Tennis news) The two semifinals of the Adelaide International 1 saw the four players playing each other for the second time. In the first semifinal, Elena Rybakina was up against Misaki Doi as the Japanese player had never reached this stage and Elena was looking to enter the final of an event for the first time since 2020. Doi had defeated Rybakina in 2019 in the fourth round at Bastad in three sets.
Doi had a good start as she took the first two games in 10 minutes and 20 minutes later the scores were 4-4 as Rybakina refused to back down. Rybakina then broke her opponent in the very next game and served out the set with an ace, she only lost three points out of 11 second serves and had 5 aces. In the second set, Rybakina worked more on her first serve as she won 10 points out of 12 and Doi kept struggling with her serve.
Even though Doi again had a good start, especially with her forehand which was creating more chances in every point could not stop Rybakina after 2-2. In the next five games, Rybakina won four as Doi failed to keep up her starting momentum in both the sets. Rybakina defeated Doi 6-4, 6-3.
"I'm very happy to be in the final," Rybakina said, in her post-match press conference. "It's just the start of the season and I feel more confident, of course.
"The key was again the serve, I think. I served really well at the end of the first set and then the second set. She played fast also. I just started a bit slow, maybe like yesterday. I have to improve it today for sure."
Ashleigh Barty reached the final here for the second time when she defeated last year’s champion Iga Swiatek. Barty broke Swiatek’s serve in the 5th game of the match and did not lose the lead in fact did it again in the 7th game with a forehand down the line to make it 5-2. After losing the first set, Swiatek began to lose control on her serve as a double fault in the third game gave Barty the first break in the set. Swiatek could only win 5 points of her second serves as she lost 10 of them. Barty’s backhand slice was easily defending Swiatek’s groundstrokes and even pushed back to the baseline. Barty defeated 6-2, 6-4.
Barty will play the final against Rybakina and will play the 22 year old for the second time, they had previously played in the third round at the 2020 Australian Open where Barty defeated her in straight sets.
Barty and Stormy Sanders have also reached the final after they defeated Sania Mirza and Nadiia Kichenok in the semifinal. The pair were close to losing in the match but did not let Sania and Nadiia get the final few points. Barty and Sanders defeated Sania and Nadiia 6-1, 2-6, 10-8.
In the final Barty and Sanders will be up against Andreja Klepac and Darija Jurak Schreiber who got a walkover in the semifinal as they will now have enough rest for the final. Barty will be a bit exhausted with double duty but the world number singles player would want a trophy in both the finals.
Bopanna-Ramkumar enter semis with straight set win in Adelaide
Adelaide, Jan 7 (Tennis News) India's Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan registered a resounding straight-set win to cruise into the semifinals of the Adelaide International 1 ATP tournament here on Friday.
Bopanna and Ramkumar trounced the French-Monegasque duo of Benjamin Bonzi and Hugo Nys 6-1 6-3 in the doubles quarterfinals of the ATP 250 men's event.
The unseeded Indian pair will clash with the fourth seeded Bosnian-Mexican duo of Tomislav Brkić and Santiago Gonzalez for a spot in the final.
The two Indians are pairing up for the first time on the ATP tour.
Should Bopanna and Ramkumar continue their good show the two may pair up for India's Davis Cup tie against Denmark scheduled to be played in New Delhi in March.
Later in the day, India's Sania Mirza and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok will take on local favourites Ashleigh Barty and Storm Sanders in the semifinals of the Adelaide International 1 WTA 500 event.
The Adelaide event is a tune up tournament for the Australian Open, starting January 17 in Melbourne.
Also Read : Iga Swiatek continues stern title defence at Adelaide International 1
News Source : PTI
Sania-Nadiia pair enter semifinals of Adelaide International
Adelaide, Jan 6 (Tennis News) India's Sania Mirza and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok entered the women's doubles semifinals of the Adelaide International 1 WTA event after beating American Shelby Rogers and Heather Watson of Great Britain in a hard-fought contest here on Thursday.
Sania and Nadiia got the better of their rivals 6-0 1-6 10-5 in a quarterfinal tie that lasted 55 minutes.
The Indo-Ukranian duo will now face Australia combination of Ashleigh Barty and Storm Sanders in the last-four round of the WTA 500 event.
Sania and Nadiia had earlier knocked out second seeds Gabriella Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos 1-6 6-3 10-8 in the first round.
The Adelaide event is a tune up tournament for the Australian Open, starting January 17 in Melbourne.
Also Read : Novak Djokovic moved to quarantine hotel after being denied entry into Australia
News Source : PTI
Ramkumar-Bopanna enter quarterfinals in Adelaide
Adelaide, Jan 5 (Tennis News) India's Ramkumar Ramanathan and Rohan Bopanna entered the men's doubles quarterfinals of the Adelaide International 1 ATP tournament with a hard fought win over their rivals here on Wednesday.
In the ATP 250 men's event, the Indian combination of Ramkumar and veteran Bopanna, pairing up together for the first time on the ATP tour, had to dig deep to stun the eighth seed American duo of Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow 6-7(4) 7-6(3) 10-4 in a super tie-breaker in the second round.
The Indians had earlier trounced American Jamie Cerretani and Brazilian Fernando Romboli 6-2 6-1 in the opening round on Tuesday.
They will face the winner of another pre-quarterfinal match between the French-Monegasque duo of Benjamin Bonzi and Hugo Nys and the Belgian combination of Sander Gille Joran Vliegen.
In the women's WTA 500 event here, India's Sania Mirza and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok overcame a first-set thrashing to knock out second seeds Gabriella Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos 1-6 6-3 10-8 on Tuesday.
They now await the winner of the match between Australian duo of Priscilla Hon and Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz and American-British pair of Shelby Rogers and Heather Watson in the women's doubles quarterfinals.
The Adelaide event is a tune up tournament for the Australian Open, starting January 17 in Melbourne.
Also Read : Novak Djokovic confirms participation in 2022 Australian Open
News Source : PTI
Sania-Kichenok, Ramkumar-Bopanna advance in Adelaide
Adelaide, Jan 4 (Tennis News) On an all-win day for Indian tennis players, Sania Mirza and the pair of Ramkumar Ramanathan and Rohan Bopanna emerged victorious in their respective first round matches, albeit in contrasting fashion, in the ATP and WTA tournaments, here on Tuesday.
Sania and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok overcame a first-set thrashing to knock out second seeds Gabriella Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos 1-6 6-3 10-8 in the WTA 500 event.
In the ATP 250 men's event, the Indian combination of Ramkumar and veteran Bopanna, pairing up together for the first time on the ATP tour, had an easy day out.
They trounced American Jamie Cerretani and Brazilian Fernando Romboli 6-2 6-1 to set up the pre-quarterfinal with eighth seed American pair of Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow.
"We had a good match. Both of us served And returned well. We combined well and stuck to the plan," Ramkumar told PTI.
"We had practiced once with the same team before the draw which helped us.
"I am always happy to play with Bops (Bopanna), who is so experienced and is someone who has always been of good support and helps me with my tennis with all the experience he has," he added.
Since India will host Denmark on grass courts in New Delhi in their next Davis Cup tie in March, it is a possibility that Bopanna and Ramkumar, who has developed a fantastic serve and volley game, may pair up for the doubles.
This tournament will give them that opportunity to find out what works for them, if at all the captain decides to field them as a team.
Interestingly, Ramkumar got a chance to play with Denmark's top singles player Holger Rune in the singles Qualifiers and lost 4-6 6-7(7) in a close first round match.
Rune, ranked 103, eventually qualified for the main draw.
The match must have given him a fair idea of what to expect from Rune when he lands in Delhi for the Davis Cup.
"It was a good match. I think, I started off a bit slow where I got broken in the first game. But After that it was an extremely close and hard fought match "I was just a bit unlucky to not have converted those set points. He played good on a few of them and he is quick, so all credit to him. Hopefully I can get him back on grass," Ramkumar said.
The Adelaide event is a tune up tournament for the Australian Open, starting January 17 in Melbourne.
Also Read : Australia overpower Italy as Humbert puts up a show against Russia in ATP Cup
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Malik sizzles in Pakistan's 72-run win, to face Australia in semifinals
Sharjah, Nov 7 (Cricket news) Playing international cricket since the last century, when some of his current teammates were not even born, Shoaib Malik on Sunday showed them the way with an astonishing 18-ball 54 to set up Pakistan's 72-run mauling of Scotland in the T20 World Cup.
It was the tournament's joint fastest half-century alongside India opener K L Rahul's 18-ball 50, which also came against Scotland, as Pakistan stopped the Scots at 117 for six after posting an imposing 189 for four.
As her Indian tennis player wife Sania Mirza watched from the stands, Malik, 39, blasted six sixes during his whirlwind unbeaten knock, which overshadowed skipper Babar Azam's fourth half-century of the tournament.
Batting first, Pakistan pummelled 129 runs in the back 10 after limping to 60 for two at the halfway stage.
With the ball, the in-form team did what was expected of them in their last Super 12 engagement to set up a semifinal date with Australia.
Pakistan blazed their way into the last four with five wins from as many outings, underlining their credentials as one of the firm favourites.
Thanks to Malik's blitz, Pakistan scored 43 runs in the last two overs, including 26 in the final six balls bowled by Chris Greaves.
Coincidentally, it was at this very venue that Malik made his One-day International debut in October 1999, against West Indies. His first Pakistan captain, Wasim Akram, retired from the game nearly two decades ago.
Meanwhile Babar, who once again donned the role of the accumulator, became only the third batter to score four half-centuries in a T20 World Cup after former Australia opener Matthew Hayden and India captain Virat Kohli, who achieved the feat in 2007 and 2014 respectively.
Having struggled to 60 for two at the halfway stage, Pakistan got 129 runs in back 10.
Opting to bat first, Babar Mohammad Rizwan were off to a sedate start, as the Scotland bowlers managed to keep the run rate below six until the power play.
Having smoked Bradley Wheal for a gigantic six over deep mid-wicket, Rizwan was dismissed by Hamza Tahir, who drew the batter with a tossed-up delivery before getting an under-edge to the wicketkeeper.
The Scots deserves plaudits for the manner in which they kept a lid on the Pakistan scoring as they ended the power play at 35 for no loss, which became 35 for one in the first ball of the next over with Rizwan's dismissal.
Pakistan were not so well placed at 60 for two at the halfway stage as Scotland managed to keep their opponents to a run a ball.
However, things changed completely as Pakistan entered the back 10 with both Babar and the veteran Mohammad Hafeez (31 off 19 balls) cutting loose to clear the ropes at regular intervals during a brisk 53-run third-wicket partnership.
Babar was his usual classy self when he played the ball along the ground, but at the same time, he did not hesitate to go over the top, the result of which were three sixes.
After Babar's dismissal, the show belonged to Malik.
In a massive chase, Scotland lost the wickets of skipper Kyle Coetzer and Matthew Cross with just 36 runs in the board.
Scotland were never in the game as they struggled to 42 for two at the end of the first 10 overs.
Richie Berrington was the lone Scotland batter to shine with a 54 ball off 37 balls.
One of the biggest positives for Pakistan bowling was the manner in which Shadab Khan (2/140 bowled, getting his googlies and leg-spinners right ahead of the big semifinal against the Aussies.
Also Read : T20 WC: India ousted as New Zealand clinch semifinal spot with comprehensive win over Afghans
News Source : PTI
Martina Trevisan emerges victorious in one of the longest Women’s matches in Open era
(Tennis news) In Men’s singles, Frances Tiafoe defeated showman Benoit Paire in a highly entertaining two set match at Indian Wells. Paire did give something for the crowd to cheer about with his volleys and athleticism. Frances broke Paire in the ninth game which proved to be crucial in taking the first set as the young american kept winning the crucial breaks. Paire threw his racquet and also hit the ball away at the end of the first set as the crowd booed him. In the second set, Frances kept his calm as he recorded his second victory over Paire in two matches. Frances defeated Paire 6-4, 6-4.
Kei Nishikori completed a hat trick of wins over Joao Sousa who came in through the qualifiers. Sousa looked the better player in the first half of the match as he took the set and then broke Nishikori in the beginning of the second set. A set and break down, Nishikori climbed right back and leveled the scores then went on to take the second set which brought the match to a set each. In the final set Nishikori continued where he left off as he won the final set to face Daniel Evans in his next match. Nishikori defeated Sousa 6-7(5-7), 6-3, 6-2.
Martina Trevisan took over four hours to record a victory over Marie Bouzkova in the 7th longest match of the Open Era. Bouzkova took the first two games in the first set but Martina with the help of some powerful forehands covered the distance and went on to win the opening set. In the second set, the grunts became louder and the rallies intensified in the tiebreak when Bouzkova even after two hours covered the whole court to win the first point.
Bouzkova found the right angles from her forehand and backhand as she raced to 4-2 in the tiebreaker where at one point Martina screamed when Bouzkova hit a backhand winner from the net. Bouzkova saved two match points in the set as she went on to win it and the clock was timed at two hours and twenty minutes with a set to go. In the final set, Travisan let her forehand dictate the terms as Bouzkova was visibly tired from the gruelling contest and on her third matchpoint, Travisan hit a forehand winner to finally close out the match. Travisan defeated Bouzkova 6-4, 6-7( 8-10), 6-4.
Qualifier Astra Sharma played big time tennis to defeat former world number 19 Donna Vekić in the opening round. Astra began well by taking the first set and was hit back as Donna took the second set, in the final set Astra did not let her opponent’s experience affect her strokes and finished with the match to set up a second round clash against Daria Kasatkina. Astra defeated Donna 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
It was a battle of height as both Amanda Anisimova and Katrina Scott stood at 5 feet 11 inches and the score lines were also identical. Amanda delivered a huge blow to the 17 year old as she conceded only two games in a match that finished under an hour. Amanda defeated Katrina 6-1, 6-1.
In women’s doubles, Zhang Shuai and Sania Mirza lost in a three set duel. The final set saw both the teams inches away from victory as Shuko and Ena defeated Zhang and Sania 4-6, 6-3, 15-13. Simona Halep and Elena-Gabriela Ruse had a pleasant outing as a doubles pair when they defeated seventh seed Andreja Klepač and Darija Jurak. Halep and Ruse took the first set and it looked like Andreja and Darija taking the second set, they were close but it was not enough as the semifinalists in Chicago faced an early defeat here.
Also read: Sloane Stephens beats Heather Watson in marathon match at Indian Wells opener
Sloane Stephens beats Heather Watson in marathon match at Indian Wells opener
(Tennis news) In the women’s singles, former US Open champion Sloane Stephens defeated Heather Watson in a three hour match. This is Sloane’s third victory over Heather as she last faced her five years ago at Miami. Sloane came close at the first set tiebreak but in the next two sets played her best to proceed to the next round where she will face 19th seed Jessica Pegula. Sloane defeated Heather 6-7( 5-7), 7-5, 6-1.
Hsieh Su-wei also secured a victory over Madison Brengle with her unconventional drop shots and double handed strokes. She broke Madison in the opening game and raced away to take the first four games and went on to win the set. In the second set which saw many dropshots and volleys by Hsieh as she was down to two games to love but fought back to make it even. Madison broke Hsieh in the most athletic fashion possible as she kept chasing the ball without a doubt and broke to make it five all. Hsieh finally secured the victory in a tiebreak as Madisons’ backhand failed to cross the net. Hsieh defeated Madison 6-1, 7-6 (7-4).
Madison Keys proved to be a scare for Kaia Kanepi as she won the first nine games of the match leaving Kaia to lose the set in fifteen minutes but learned her lesson and came back strong in the second set. Kaia was down to 1-3 in the second set but brought back the game to level it five all and with the final run Madison completed an emphatic victory. Madison defeated Kaia 6-0, 7-5.
Alizé Cornet made short work of qualifier Elena-Gabriela Ruse even though she committed 11 double faults on her way to victory. Cornet had five double faults in the first set but that didn’t stop her from taking control of the rallies as Ruse struggled to win points. In the second set, Ruse improved on her returns as she began to pick on Cornet’s second serve and put up a good fight against the former world number 11. Cornet eventually won the third set in a close tie break to set up a match with US Open runner up Leylah Annie Fernandez. Cornet defeated Ruse 6-3, 7-6(7-5).
In women’s doubles, 6th seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Hayley Carter had a short match against Kaitlyn Christian and Erin Routliffe. Gabriela and Hayley defeated Kaitlyn and Erin 6-4, 6-4. Zhang Shuai and Sania Mirza will face Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara in their opening match at Indian Wells.
India's Jeev Milkha Singh becomes first golfer in world to be granted 10-year Dubai Golden Visa
Dubai, Sep 8 (Golf news) Star Indian golfer Jeev Milkha Singh has become the first professional golfer in the world to receive the prestigious 10-year Dubai Golden Visa in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the sport.
The 49-year-old Jeev has had a long association with Dubai, having featured in several tournaments and making many friends in the city.
"I am really honoured and humbled that the Dubai government has considered me for the Golden Visa and I am looking forward to making many more special memories here," Jeev said in a release.
During the 2001 Dubai Desert Classic, Jeev had established a world record at that time when he completed the four rounds with just 94 putts while finishing tied sixth.
Jeev, winner of four titles on the European Tour, four on Japan Golf Tour and six on the Asian Tour, has received the 10-year 'Gold card' for being an elite professional athlete.
Also read: Jahanvi aims to continue good form at the 8th leg on the Hero WPGT
"This is a huge honour. I think I came to Dubai for the first time in 1993, and I have loved every moment of my stay here and greatly admired the energy of this fascinating city," he said.
"My family has enjoyed the many offerings of Dubai, like the variety of restaurants and shopping, but being a professional golfer, the biggest attraction for me is the quality of golf courses and the practice facilities that you get here, which really are second to none.
"I have also got a lot of support from Dubai. I was one of the first ambassadors for Jumeirah Golf Estates, and also of 'Golf in Dubai' for many years." The Golden Visa was instituted by the UAE government in 2019 as a new system which allowed investors (minimum of AED 10 million) and entrepreneurs, as well as professionals and specialised talents like in the field of science, knowledge and sports, to apply for it.
Other sportspersons who have been granted the Golden Visa by Dubai include footballers Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba, Roberto Carlos, Luis Figo and Romel Lukaku, tennis superstar Novak Djokovic, Indian tennis star Sania Mirza and her husband and Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik.
Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan and Sanjay Dutt have also received their visas.
Son of the legendary Indian athlete, the late 'Flying Sikh' Milkha Singh, Jeev won two of the biggest tournaments on the European Tour -- the 2006 Volvo Masters at Valderrama and the 2012 Scottish Open.
He also won the 2008 Singapore Open and rose to No. 28 in the Official World Golf Ranking, a high that few Asian golfers have managed to surpass.
News source: PTI
Bopanna-Dodig pair goes down fighting in US Open
New York, Sep 7 (Tennis news) Veteran Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna and his Croatian partner Ivan Dodig fought their hearts out before losing their men's doubles third round to fourth seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury at the US Open here.
Bopanna and Dodig, seeded 13th, lost 7-6(4) 4-6 6-7(3) to the Australian Open runners-up in a gruelling contest that lasted two hours and 30 minutes on Monday night.
With this defeat, India's challenge has ended at the last Grand Slam of the season.
Also read: Emma Raducanu breezes past Shelby Rogers at the US Open, Matteo Berrettini seeks Wimbeldon revenge against Novak Djokovic
Sania Mirza lost her both women's doubles and mixed doubles first rounds and Ankita Raina also lost in the women's doubles.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Sumit Nagal and Ramkumar Ramanathan could not not qualify for the singles main draw, falling in the Qualifiers.
News source: PTI
Carlos Alcaraz and Leylah Fernandez lead with huge victories at the US Open
(Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, 18 year old Carlos Alcaraz Garfia reported a major casualty when he beat World number 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round of the US Open. Alcaraz covered over 9 kms during the four hour battle, he even came back from 2-5 in the third set as Tsitsipas simply couldn’t get the ball past him. In the fourth set, Tsitsipas came back roaring with 6 consecutive games to take the match into the decider. Alcaraz played like a true warrior against the Greek god to go into the fourth round. Alcaraz defeated Tsitsipas 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(7-2), 0-6, 7-6(7-5).
World no seven Andrey Rublev was also knocked out by Frances Tiafoe in another five setter as two top ten players have already crashed out of the US Open. Rublev started well taking the first set but Tiafoe immediately answered as he took the next one. In the third set Rublev had a set point in the tie break but Tifaoe managed to sabotage it and went on to win the set. Things were never smooth for Rublev as he could never carry the momentum in the match as Tiafoe constantly troubled his rhythm to take the match. Tifaoe defeated Rublev 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(8-6), 4-6, 6-1.
The third five setter match saw Felix Auger Aliassime continue his good run at the Grand Slams as he recorded a victory against Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round. Felix had earlier reached the quarterfinals in Wimbledon for the first time, he was on course for a straight set victory by taking the first two sets comfortably until Roberto fought back taking the next two. The match was suddenly even and both of them had equal chances. Felix showed tremendous stamina to come out firing in the final set for a well deserved win. Felix defeated Roberto 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3.
In Women’s Singles, 18 year old Leylah Annie Fernandez caused the biggest upset of this year’s US Open so far as she ended the campaign of defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round. Osaka took the first set and was almost close to taking the next one too until Leylah found hope at the right time. Osaka was serving for the match 6-5 in the second set when Lelyah had other ideas and won the set in the tiebreaker. The final set saw Leylah winning 18 of her 19 first serves and had enough energy left in the tank to blast winners as she grew with confidence in the last few games. Leylah defeated Osaka 5-7, 7-6(7-2), 6-4.
Garbine Muguruza, a two time Grand Slam champion was up against another two time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka. Muguruza started off on a bright note as she took the first set and the duel was bound to go to the third set when Azarenka took the second set with equal ease. In the third set Azarenka lost control of her serve and groundstrokes as Muguruza won the match. Muguruza defeated Azarenka 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
Two former US Open champions collided in another exciting contest, Angelique Kerber won here 5 years ago and Sloane Stephens had won 4 years ago. Stephens took the first as she looked more comfortable on court than Kerber, but the next two sets saw Kerber walk all over her opponent. Kerber was striking the ball so well and finished the last two sets in jiffy. Kerber defeated Stephens 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.
In Men’s Doubles, Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig took the last two sets to win their opening match against the pair of James Duckworth and Jordan Thompson. Bopanna and Ivan Dodig defeated Duckworth and Thompson 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(7-1). Third seeds Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert needed three sets which involved two tie breakers to see off Marcelo Demoliner and Marcus Daniell. Mahut and Herbert defeated Demoliner and Daniell 6-3, 7-6(7-3), 7-6(7-1).
In Women’s Doubles, Desirae Krawczyk and Alexa Guarachi had an easy outing against Rebecca Peterson and Danka Kovinić, Krawczyk and Guarachi just gave four games as they are into the third round. Krawczyk and Guarachi defeated Peterson and Kovinić 6-3, 6-1. Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai continued their good run as they defeated Miyu Kato and Sabrina Santamaria 6-2, 6-4.
In Mixed Doubles, Rajeev Ram and Sania Mirza lost their opening match to Dayana Yastremska and Max Purcell as they couldn’t turn things around in the final set tiebreaker. Dayana and Max defeated Rajeev and Sania 6-3, 3-6, 10-7. Joe Salisbury and Desirae Krawczyk had a tough opening match as they defeated Mitchell Krueger and Jamie Loeb 5-7, 6-3, 10-8.
Also read: Jack Sock and Kei Nishikori turn back the clock at the US Open, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić exit in the first round in doubles
Jack Sock and Kei Nishikori turn back the clock at the US Open, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić exit in the first round in doubles
(Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, Jack Sock entered the third round of a Grand Slam after 4 years. Sock defeated Alexander Bublik in an entertaining contest as both the players were engaged in trickshots and super fast forehands. Sock began to win points at the net right from the start whereas Bublik was simply firing aces along with winners, in the end Sock managed to slow down his opponent for an emotional victory. Sock defeated Bublik 7-6(7-3), 6-7(2-7), 6-4, 4-6,6-3.
Kei Nishikori, also on the verge of a comeback defeated Mackenzie McDonald after spending 4 hours on the court. Nishikori was on course for a comfortable straight set victory as he took the first two sets but a sudden surge from Mackenzie forced the match to the decisive set. Nishikori charged ahead early in the final set as Mackenzie failed to outsmart him, Nishikori will face Novak Djokovic in the third round. Nishikori defeated Mackenzie McDonald 7-6(7-3), 6-3, 6-7(5-7), 6-2.
Andreas Seppi reached the third round of the US Open Singles for the fourth time in 18 years and the first since 2015 as he staged an upset over 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz. Seppi was totally beaten by Hubert in the first set but managed to come back without any trouble to take the next two sets. Seppi then showed no signs of slowing down as he won the match by taking the fourth set tiebreaker. Seppi defeated Hubert 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6( 8-6).
In Women’s Singles, Varvara Gracheva secured her 13th career win as she beat Paula Badosa. Varvara did not show any form of fear or pressure when faced the world number 26, Varvara led the fight early on as it took her only an hour and 14 minutes to send Paula packing. Varvara defeated Paula 6-4, 6-4.
Jil Teichmann continued to struggle in Grand Slams as she lost to Anett Kontaveit in straight sets. Anett played aggressively and used her serve and volley to beat the in-form Teichmann, Anett made Teichmann run all over the court as the second set saw Anett improving her serve game by game. Anett defeated Teichmann 6-4, 6-1.
Tokyo Olympics Singles Gold Medallist, Belinda Bencic dominated her match against Martina Trevisan to enter the third round. Belinda won 12 of her last 13 points to take the 1st set and took the first five games in the second set as Martina found support from the crowd when she won her fourth and last game. Belinda defeated Martina 6-3, 6-1.
In Men’s Doubles, Wimbledon champions Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić were stunned by Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow in straight sets. The Americans beat the Croatians 6-2, 7-5. Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecău had an easy outing against Márton Fucsovics and Stefano Travaglia as they beat them 6-3, 6-2.
In Women’s Doubles, Elise Mertens and Su-Wei Hsieh took just 43 minutes to demolish the pair of Yulia Putintseva and Anna Kalinskaya with a 6-0, 6-0 victory. The double bagel will give them the boost for the next round. Sania Mirza and CoCo Vandeweghe lost their opening match to Raluca Olaru and Nadiia Kichenok. Even though Sania and Coco started off well by winning the first set, things didn’t go their way as the pair lost the next two. Raluca and Nadiia defeated Mirza and Coco 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
In Mixed Doubles, 8th seeded Demi Schuurs and Sander Gillé beat Bruno Kuzuhara and Elvina Kalieva as they relied on their serves to get past their opponents. Demi and Sander defeated Bruno and Elvina 6-4, 6-3. Marcelo Melo and Luisa Stefani were beaten by Gabriela Dabrowski and Marcus Daniell in a three set thriller. The final set saw the pair come heartbreakingly close as Gabriela and Marcus edged them in the finish line.
Also read: Rain takes centre stage in the US Open as matches get delayed, Cori Gauff loses to Sloane Stephens
Mirza-McHale reach finals in Cleveland
Cleveland, Aug 28 (Tennis News) Ace Indian tennis player Sania Mirza and her American partner Christina McHale sailed into the women's doubles final of the 'Tennis in the Land' tournament with a straight-set win over Ulrikke Eikeri and Catherine Harrison here.
Mirza and McHale took one hour and 23 minutes to defeat the Norwegian-American pair 7-6 (5) 6-2 in the semifinals of the WTA 250 tournament on Friday.
Also read: Novak Djokovic aims to break multiple records, 21st Grand Slam on sight
The unseeded Indian-American pair will battle it out for the top honours with top seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara of Japan in the summit clash.
Mirza and McHale had notched comprehensive wins without dropping a set in their previous two games.
News source: PTI
Sania-McHale cruise to semifinals at Cleveland
Cleveland (US), Aug 27 (Tennis news) India's Sania Mirza and her American partner Christina McHale cruised to the semifinals of Tennis in the Land tournament with a straight set win over Lucie Hradecka and Shuai Zhang here.
Mirza and McHale hardly broke a sweat, beating Czech Republic's Hradecka and her Chinese partner Zhang 6-3 6-3 in one hour one minute in the women's doubles quarterfinals Thursday night.
The Indian-American pair impressed on first serve (78.9%) and converted five out of nine break points to claim a comfortable victory.
Also read: A new chapter is beginning to unfold with the next generation of tennis stars hungrier than ever
Mirza and McHale will take on Norway's Ulrikke Eikeri and American Catherine Harrison in the semifinals.
They are yet to drop a set in the tournament as they had defeated Georgia's Oksana Kalashnikova and her Romanian partner Andreea Mitu 6-3 6-2 in the opening round.
News source: PTI
Sania Mirza and Christina Mchale enters quarterfinals at Cleveland
Cleveland, Aug 23 (Tennis news) India's Sania Mirza and her American partner Christina Mchale entered the quarterfinals of the Cleveland Championships with a straight sets win over Oksana Kalashnikova and Andreea Mitu here.
The Indo-American pair triumphed in their women's doubles pre-quarterfinals 6-3 6-2 over the duo from Georgia and Romania on Sunday night.
Also read: Top four seeds into the last four in Cincinnati, Jil Teichmann upsets Belinda Bencic
Sania and her partner from the USA dominated the match thoroughly and never allowed their opponents a chance to stage a comeback after comfortably winning the first set.
The second set was no different as they won without breaking a sweat to progress into the quarterfinals of the tournament.
News source: PTI
Paire and Shapovalov battle in round three as Murray advances in Cincinnati
Cincinnati (Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, Denis Shapovalov will face Benoit Paire for a fourth time as the pair last met two years ago, this is the second time they are meeting in a Masters 1000 after their Madrid clash three years ago and Paire leads their head to head with two victories as the Canadian has one which was the first time they met in Madrid. Andy Murray started his Cincinnati Open in style as he defeated Richard Gasquet in straight sets to enter the third round. Alex de Minaur had to come back strong as he was bageled by Filip Krajinović in the first set but the young Aussie did not back down and took the next two sets to set up a third round encounter with Jannik Sinner. Jannik had earlier beaten Federico Delbonis in straight sets to proceed to the third round. Karen Khachanov beat Kevin Anderson 6-2, 6-4 and will lock horns with Felix Auger Aliassime. Felix had to struggle a bit against Márton Fucsovics in the first set as it went till tiebreak, Fucsovics even had a set point at 5-4 only to be broken and in the tiebreak Felix took seven consecutive points to take the first set and in the second set he had it easy.
Also read: Cincinnati Open looks promising as two weeks left for the final Slam of the year
In Women’s Singles, Paula Badosa saved 5 matchpoints against Petra Martic in the second round. Martic had three match points while she was serving 5-4 and even Paula had two match points when she was leading 6-5 but both of them couldn’t finish it. It eventually led to the tiebreak with each one having more than one match points and finally after 2 hours and 34 minutes, Paula sealed with 10-9 in the tiebreak. With her heroics she will next face Aryna Sabalenka in the third round. Toronto Open winner Camila Giorgi will face Jessica Pegula for the second consecutive time as the pair met in the semifinals of the Toronto Open, Angelique Kerber had it easy against Maria Sakkari as she came out on firing with 6-2, 6-2 victory and will face Tokyo Olympics Bronze medallist Elina Svitolina in the fourth round. Coco Gauff will start her campaign against Hsieh Su-wei, an opponent twice her age. Simona Halep will also begin today she is up against Magda Linette who reached the semifinals in doubles of the Toronto Open.
In Men’s Doubles, Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig are set to face Filip Krajinović and Fabrice Martin in their opening match. The American pair of Frances Tiafoe and Nicholas Monroe defeated Andrey Golubev and Andreas Miles 7-6(7-5),7-5 in the third round. They will be facing Toronto champions Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram for place in the Quarterfinals.
In the Women’s Doubles, Gabriela Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani fresh off from their Toronto title will begin here by competing against Anna Danilina and Yarslova Shvedova in the third round.
Sania Mirza is back as this is her first event after the Olympics, she is paired up with Ons Jabeur and they will be up against Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Rybakina in their first match.
Day 4: A day of disappointments for the Indian Olympic contingent
India reaches Men’s Archery quarter-finals with win over Kazakhstan
India’s trio of Atanu Das, Tarundeep Rai and Pravin Jadhav put up an impressive display to defeat Kazakhstan 6-2 to progress into the quarter-finals where they will face World Champions Korea.
Bhavani Devi beats Tunisia’s Ben Azizi to win India’s first ever fencing match in Olympic history
Indian fencer CA Bhavani Devi created history at her Olympic Games debut by defeating Tunisia’s Nadia Ben Azizi 15-3 to reach the Individual Sabre Round of 16. She is also India’s first ever fencer to represent the country in the Olympics and the 27 year old showcased a commanding performance.
Starting strong despite a delay in her bout, Bhavani Devi gave nothing away and raced to an 8-0 lead. Tunisia’s Azizi, being a lower ranked opponent was not given any space or time to regain momentum and remained on the backfoot with precise attacks.
Indian paddler Sharath Kamal progresses to third round after win against Portugal's Tiago Apolonia
Sharath Kamal progressed into the third round of table tennis men’s singles with a 4-2 (2-11 11-8 11-5 9-11 11-6 11-9) over Tiago Apolonia. Despite losing the first game 2-11, Kamal fought back with grit and determination to win the next two rounds. However, Apolonia did not give up without a fight and levelled the match in the fourth round with a score of 9-11.
Sharath’s coach Saumadeep Roy called for a timeout when the scores were tied 4-4 in the fifth set, which worked in the Indian’s favor as the veteran Indian paddler went on to lead 8-5, winning the fifth set and making it 3-2.
Indian fencer Bhavani Devi’s journey ends at the Tokyo Olympics after defeat against Brunet in Round of 32
Despite Bhavani Devi’s journey at the Tokyo Olympics coming to an end, it seems like the beginning for her and Indian fencing after the 27 year old became the first Indian to win a fencing bout in Olympic history.
Facing World Number 3 and fourth seed Manon Brunet of France was always going to be a tough task but Bhavani Devi gave her a good fight, going into the break trailing 2-8 but collecting 5 more points in the 2nd round before eventually succumbing to a 7-15 loss.
Sutirtha loses in straight games the 2nd Round in Tokyo
After securing a hard fought win in the 1st round, Sutirtha Mukherjee lost to Fu Yu from Portugal in the Tokyo Olympics.
The Chinese born 42 year old secured victory taking the first four games in 23 minutes, each game lasting around 5 minutes. The score line read 11-3,11-3,11-5 and 11-5. With this result, Sutirtha’s Olympic campaign has come to an end and now there are two players left in the ray.
Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy lose to the world no 1 pair of Gideon and Sukamuljo of Indonesia
The Indian pair of Chirag Shetty and Rankireddy began the match well but the world number 1 pair of Gideon and Sukamuljo of Indonesia started asserting dominance over them and won the first set quite comfortably 21-13. The second set began in similar fashion with the Indian pair taking an early lead but the Indonesian pair overwhelmed them with a tremendous display of skill and won the second set 21-12.
Chirag Shetty and Rankireddy will now face Lane Ben and Vendy Sean of Great Britain in their final group match tomorrow
Indian men’s archery team outclassed by South Korea in the quarter-finals
It was always going to be a tough task for the Indian trio of Atanu Das, Pravin Jadhav and Tarundeep Rai to overcome South Korea in the quarter-finals of the men’s archery event, but few predicted such a whitewash.
In a one sided contest at the Yumenoshima Ranking Field, the South Korean team consisting of Kim Je Deok, Kim Woojin, and Oh Jinhyek reached the semifinals by defeating the Indian team 6-0.
India out of men’s skeet shooting; Angad Bajwa places 18th in qualification
Both Indian shooters who competed in the Tokyo Olympics today were unable to qualify for the final. Angad Bajwa finished 18th in the Men's Skeet qualification round, while Mairaj Khan came in 25th. With their exit, Indian sports fans will have to wait a little longer to see their country earn its first Olympic medal in the sport in Tokyo.
Despite competing in five events in three days, India has yet to win a single medal in Shooting, a sport they were anticipated to dominate at the Tokyo Olympics.
Sumit’s run comes to an end as Medvedev clinches victory in straight sets
After beating Denis Istomin in the first round, Sumit Nagal created history as the first Indian to secure a win in Olympic Singles in 25 years. Today in the 2nd round he faced Danii Medvedev from Russia and lost 6-2,6-1 in an hour and six minutes. The Russian is the current world number 2 and has good chances of winning a medal here.
Medvedev is also playing doubles this time partnering with Aslan Karatsev but lost their opening match to Lukas Klein and Filip Polasek from Slovakia. With his loss India has ended its Tennis run as Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina lost their opening match yesterday in Women’s Doubles.
Manika Batra loses to Austria’s Sofia Polcanova 4-0
Manika, world ranked at 63, lost four straight games to the 17 seeded table tennis player; 11-8, 11-2, 11-5, 11-7. Batra had earlier impressed on Sunday by beating world number 32 Margaryta Pesotska to reach the women's singles third round at the Tokyo Olympics.
Indian boxer Ashish Kumar loses 5-0 to China's Erbieke Tuoheta
Indian boxers have performed rather poorly at the Tokyo Olympics with Ashish Kumar becoming the third male boxer to lose in the first round alongside Vikas Krishna & Manish Kumar. The 27 year old boxer from Haryana started poorly in the first round but gradually improved his performance in the second. However, it was too little too late for Ashish Kumar who fell prey to Tuoheta’s combination punches.
Indian swimmer Sajan Prakash fails to qualify for semifinals at the Tokyo Olympics
Sajan Prakash finished fourth in the Men’s 200 metre butterfly stroke event with a timing of 1.57.22. With this result, Prakash finished 24th overall and failed to qualify for the semifinals at the Tokyo Olympics as only the top 16 move forward after all the heats are done.
Also read: Day 3: Mary Kom,PV Sindhu and Manika Batra keeping up India’s medal hopes
Germany beats India 2-0 in women's hockey at the Tokyo Olympics
The Indian Women’s hockey team lost 2-0 to Germany in their second pool A match at the Oi Hockey Stadium South Pitch. The Germans are off to a strong start as they have won their second successive match, beating Britain in their first match by two goals to one. The first quarter saw Nike Lorenz strike in the 12th minute in a penalty corner. The second quarter did not see any goals from both teams, the third quarter saw Anne Katarina Schroder scoring the second goal for Germany in the 35th minute to give them a 2-0 win.
Sumit’s run comes to an end as Medvedev clinches victory in straight sets
(Tennis sport news) Olympic 2021 Live Update: After beating Denis Istomin in the first round, Sumit Nagal created history as the first Indian to secure a win in Olympic Singles in 25 years. Today in the 2nd round he faced Danii Medvedev from Russia and lost 6-2,6-1 in an hour and six minutes. The Russian is the current world number 2 and has good chances of winning a medal here. He is also one of the few players expected to give Novak Djokovic a shock in the Tokyo Olympics. Medvedev is also playing doubles this time partnering with Aslan Karatsev but lost their opening match to Lukas Klein and Filip Polasek from Slovakia.
Also read: Indian men’s archery team outclassed by South Korea in the quarter-finals
With his loss India has ended its Tennis run as Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina lost their opening match yesterday in Women’s Doubles.
Day 3: Mary Kom,PV Sindhu and Manika Batra keeping up India’s medal hopes
1) PV Sindhu cruises through her first match:-
PV Sindhu, a medal contender for India and a silver medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympics, won her first round match against Israel's Ksenia Polikarpova 21-7 21-10. Sindhu swept to the following round with a win in straight games, completing her victory with ease.
PV Sindhu will face Cheung Ngan of Hong Kong on 28th July and will be looking to comfortably go through.
2) Indian rowers excel:-
In Lightweight Men's Double Sculls the repechages were held today and Team India consisting of Arvind Singh and Arjun Lal Jat have qualified for Semifinals A/B at the Tokyo Olympics.With a timing of 6:51.36 they finished ahead of Uzbekistan.They have qualified along with Poland and Spain who came first and second respectively.
The Semifinal A/B will be held on 27th morning at 11:28. They will hope to qualify for Finals A as Spain and Belgium will look to come on top. India has only one team in rowing and both will look to capitalise on the opportunity.
3) Manika continues her march forward:-
In Table Tennis Women’s Singles Manika Batra overcame Margaryta Pesotska from Ukraine in 7 games that lasted for almost an hour. The Ukranian took the first two games for a lead but couldn't hold the momentum as the Indian clinched the next two. The fifth game was won by Margaryta and was one game away from victory but Manika comprehensively won the last two games to emerge victorious. She even won 9 consecutive points in the crucial game 6 as it was a must win game for her.
Manika will be hoping to replicate her commonwealth games performance in this years Olympics and win India its first table tennis medal
4) Mary Kom starts her campaign with a win in Tokyo:-
In Boxing Women’s fly 48-51kg six time World Champion and Olympic Medalist MC Mary Kom defeated Miguelina Hernandez from Dominican Republic 4:1 in the round of 32. The 38 year old has a 15 year difference with her opponent but showed no signs of aging or weakness.
This is her second and possibly her last Olympics but by looking at her form even that looks doubtful. In a sport where you have to be extremely tough and rough, she is still after all these years a favourite wherever she competes.
Also read:Day 2: India’s highs and lows at Tokyo Olympics
1) Indian women fail to qualify for the 10m air pistol final:-
Disappointment continues for the Indian shooting team, as Manu finished 12th in the 53-woman field after the electronic trigger on her pistol failed in the middle of the second session of qualification. Manu placed 12th overall in the 53-woman field with 575 points.
Meanwhile, it has mostly been an up and down outing for world number one Yashaswini, who shot her way back into contention with a 98 in the second series, including scoring five 10s in the second part, after a subdued start. But she was not consistent enough to challenge the top guns, bowing out in 13th place with scores of 94, 98, 94, 97, 96 and 95 for an aggregate of 574.
2) Pranati Nayak fails to qualify for the final:-
India’s run in the Artistic Gymnastics has come to an end as the lone competitor did not qualify for the finals in the Tokyo Olympics . Pranati Nayak was competing in the all around event and attempted all bars, beams, floor exercise and the vault. She scored 10.633 in the floor exercise, in the vault she scored an impressive 13.466,in uneven bars she scored 9.0333 and in the balance beam scored 9.433.
3) Sania Mirza and Ankita bow out in the first round:-
Team India in the Women’s doubles lost to the Ukraninan team of Nadiia Kichenok and Lyudmyla Kichenok in the First Round at the Tokyo Olympics. Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina got off to a flying start as they bageled their opponents in 21 mins in the first set, in the second set they had the lead 5-2 and were ready to close the match. The twins fought back, making it to the tiebreak and winning it in almost an hour.In the final set they continued their fightback by winning 8 points on the trot and looked for a comfortable victory. Indians fought valiantly and made it 8-8 but couldn’t hold off the last two points as they lost the match in 1 and half hours.
4) Indian shooters miss the target again in the 10m air rifle:-
In 10m Air Rifle Men’s Deepak Kumar and Divyansh Singh Panwar could not qualify for the finals. Deepak Kumar finished 26th with a score of 624.7 and Divyansh Singh Panwar 32nd with a score of 622.8 over a total of 6 series. India was expecting a podium finish in the event but couldn't do it this time, the shooting contingent were expected to get the majority of the medals but till now haven’t delivered. There are still medal probabilities in the remaining events in the coming days, especially the mixed team events considering the World Cup trophies the shooters have won.
5) Indian mens boxing looking for 1st victory:-
In Men’s Boxing Manish Kaushik has lost to Luke McCormack of Britain 4-1 in the round of 32 in Men’s light (57-63kg) in Tokyo Olympics .This is his debut at the Olympics and he did come close in the three rounds. He will be looking forward to competing next time and do better than this year.
6) Australia overwhelm India in hockey:-
The Kookaburras gained a huge victory over the Indian men’s team in the Pool A match at the Hockey Stadium North Pitch in Tokyo Olympics. In the first quarter saw the Australian side take the lead in the 10th minute when Daniel Beale netted the first goal from a penalty corner shot,in the second quarter saw the Australians scoring three goals. The first one as Jeremy Hayward scored from a penalty corner in the 21st minute,the second goal came in the 23rd minute by Flynn Ogilvie and the third goal of the quarter by Joshua Beltz in the 26th minute.
In the third quarter, Dilpreet Singh struck a goal in the 34th minute giving a slim hope but that was soon crushed as Govers Blake struck two penalty corner goals in the 40th and 42nd minute making the overall score 6-1. In the final quarter Brand Tim struck the 7th goal for his team and the 8th of the match in the 51st minute. India will face Spain in their third pool match on 27th.
7) Maana and Nataraj come up short in heats:-
Both of them made their debut here, Maana Patel came second in the Women's 100m backstroke Heat 1 with a timing of 1:05.20 but wasn't good enough to finish in the top 16 timings to clinch a spot in the semifinals. She finished 39th overall.
Srihari Nataraj finished 5th in Men's 100m backstroke Heat 3 with a timing of 54.31s which wasn't enough to find a spot in the top 16 and finished 27th overall. He qualified through “A” standards to get into Tokyo, both of them are in their early twenties and have plenty of time to prepare to get on top of the podium.
Sania and Ankita lose to Ukranian Twins as World number one shocked in Singles
(Tennis sport news) Olympic 2021 Live Update: Team India in Women’s doubles lost to the
Ukraninan team of Nadiia Kichenok and Lyudmyla Kichenok in the First Round at the Tokyo Olympics. Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina got off to a flying start as they bageled their opponents in 21 mins in the first set, in the second set they had the lead 5-2 and were ready to close the match. The twins fought back, making it to the tiebreak and winning it in almost an hour.
Also read: Manu Bhaker India’s medal hopeful does not qualify for the finals
In the final set they continued their fightback by winning 8 points on the trot and looked for a comfortable victory. The Indians fought valiantly and made it 8-8 but couldn’t hold off the last two points as they lost the match in 1 and half hours.
In Women’s singles Wimbledon Champion and world number 1 Ashleigh Barty was knocked out by Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo in two sets in the first Round of Tennis. Pulling off a major upset, Sara is definitely looking for more in the upcoming rounds.
Indian tennis players need miracle to go deep in draws
Tokyo, Jul 23 (Tennis news) Indian tennis players need no less than a miraculous performance to get close to the medal rounds as an under-prepared team of Sania Mirza and debutant Ankita Raina faces a tough Ukrainian challenge in the opener while Sumit Nagal has got a tough draw in the singles competition starting Saturday. Mirza, who is making a record fourth Olympic appearance, and debutant Raina are going into the Olympics without playing a single competitive match together this year, which is far from ideal preparation for the biggest sporting event on earth.
The last time Mirza and Raina shared the court was in March 2020 during the Billie Jean King Cup.
They will open their campaign against Ukraine's twin sisters Nadiia and Lyudmyla Kichenok.
"Every match is going to be a challenge and we will take one match at a time. Because Of pandemic and quarantine rules we were playing different tournaments. So after Fed Cup we didn’t get a chance to play together," Raina told PTI.
However, Mirza has tons of experience and she is playing with a player who is known to punch above her weight while representing the nation.
Raina has a big heart for fight but it will all depend on the performance of Mirza, who has not been in the best of form with her serve being an issue.
During the recent Wimbledon championships, Mirza gradually upped her game from the baseline but her feeble serve was easily tackled by the rivals.
Interestingly, when Mirza returned to competitive tennis after the COVID-19 induced break in March this year, she and her Sloveinan partner Andreja Klepac had faced the same Ukrainian sister pair and had prevailed. Ranked as low as 137 post maternity break, 34-year-old Mirza has played only eight matches this season with a 4-4 win-loss record.
Also read: Deemed 'extreme risk' nation, India denied entry into ITF World Junior Finals
The 28-year-old Raina, ranked 100, has just one singles main draw victory to show since the beginning of the 2021 season.
In the doubles, she grabbed her first ever WTA title with partner Kamila Rakhimova at the Phillip Island Trophy in Melbourne in February and broke into doubles top-100 but suffered five straight first round defeats after that.
Had it not been for Mirza's Protected Ranking of nine, India would not have a women's doubles team at the Games.
In complete contrast, Nadiia, ranked 44, had played eight WTA Tour events with her sister Lyudmyla Kichenok, ranked 48, in 2020 and one this year.
Together they did not enjoy much success but Nadiia otherwise had decent results with Romania's Raluca Olaru in 2021.
They won the won St Petersburg (WTA 500) in March and reached the semifinals in Stuttgart (WTA 500) in April and ended runners-up in Bad Homburg last month.
If Mirza and Raina win their opener, they could face American eighth seeds Nicole Melichar (doubles world number 9) and Alison Riske (singles world number 36) in the next round.
In the men's singles, Nagal is extremely lucky to get an entry into the Olympics as with a rank of 144 on the cut-off date of June 14, he was far away from making the cut.
However, a spate of withdrawals pushed him inside.
Nagal's recent performances do not inspire confidence though at the start of the season he had pulled off the biggest victory of his career when he beat then world number 22 Cristian Garin.
However, after that he has managed only two quarterfinal appearances at the Challenger level, struggling badly on the Tour.
Nagal had hinted that he was struggling with some health issues and that was the reason for him not getting the desired results.
He faces Asian Games champion Denis Istomin in his first round. The Uzbekistan veteran had won the quota from the 2018 Jakarta Games by taking the men's singles title.
The grinder that Nagal is, there is a possibility of him getting past the 34-year-old Uzbek but the Indian may next face world number two and Australian Open runner-up Danill Medvedev from Russia and that could be end of the road for him.
News source: PTI
Tennis player Sumit Nagal to face Denis Istomin in opening round at Tokyo Olympics
Tokyo, Jul 22 (Tennis news) Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal will face Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin in the opening round of the men's singles event at the Tokyo Olympics, starting here on Friday.
Nagal, who qualified for the Games last week after large-scale withdrawals, was pitted against the lower-ranked Uzbek in the draw on Thursday.
A first-round win for the 23-year-old Indian, ranked 160, could see him face second-seeded Russia's Daniil Medvedev, who takes on Alexander Bublik in his opening round match.
In women's doubles, six-time Grand Slam champion Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina will lock horns with the Kichenok twins -- Nadiia and Lyudmyla -- of Ukraine in the opening round.
Interestingly, Mirza had paired up with Nadiia after returning from her maternity leave to win the Hobart Open last year.
Also read: AITA Secretary General Anil Dhupar rues Bopanna and Mirza comments on social media, calls it inappropriate and misleading
News source: PTI
AITA to refer Bopanna's recording act to ethics committee, makes pubic correspondence with ITF
New Delhi, Jul 20 (Sports news) Rohan Bopanna's act of making public his conversation with All India Tennis Association (AITA) secretary general Anil Dhupar will be referred to its ethics and managing committee, the sports body said on Tuesday.
AITA also released its complete correspondence with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) concerning the qualification of India's men doubles team for the Tokyo Olympics.
Seeking to clear the air around the negative perception created by comments of Bopanna and Sania Mirza, the AITA put on record how it aggressively pursued the case of Bopanna and Divij Sharan for an entry into the Games, between June 28 and July 16.
The e-mail correspondence revealed that on July 2, AITA demanded a clarification from ITF on how the world body gave entry to USA (CR 118), Spain (CR 170) and Portugal (CR 204) in the men's doubles despite the fact that their combined rank was below Bopanna and Sharan's rank of 113.
Another correspondence revealed that AITA pleaded with ITF to consider Bopanna and Sharan's feat of the 2018 Asian Games for an entry.
The ITF, though, back in 2018, had announced that only the singles winners would be given the Asian Continental quota.
AITA made public the correspondence after Bopanna tweeted a video of a call-recording in which Dhupar was heard saying the ITF had accepted Bopanna and Sharan's entry in the men's doubles.
Dhupar was heard telling Bopanna to "keep his fingers crossed, maybe we get good news (of qualification) tomorrow." When specifically asked by Bopanna if his and Sharan's entry has been accepted, Dhupar replied in an affirmative.
Bopanna's contention was that why the AITA gave him false hopes of qualification.
"This act of recording a call and making it public will not be accepted. The matter will be looked into by AITA's managing committee and the ethics committee," Dhupar told PTI.
"The two committees will decide if a disciplinary action is required against Bopanna." Dhupar said the "unfortunate" episode may change the way the federation deals with the players.
"I am afraid that it is a possibility we will interact with the players only through e-mails, so that everything is crystal clear. They can't go on recording calls and making it public.
"I will not be surprised if other sports federation also take note of what Bopanna did and start communicate with their players in a different way," he said.
Asked if Bopanna would be considered for selection in India's Davis Cup team, Dhupar refused to comment.
"I can't say what will happen but if an action is recommended against him, his name will not be given to the selection committee for consideration." The selection committee is usually given 15 names after checking availability of the players to pick a five-man squad.
India next take on Finland in an away tie in September.
The controversy began when it to came light that AITA said it has withdrawn Sharan and has paired Bopanna with Sumit Nagal so that India can have a better chance to qualify for the men's doubles.
Also read: AITA says why did Bopanna not qualify on his own after player accuses it of misleading on nomination
The ITF cited rules to say that a change was not possible and that even if India were to pair Bopanna with Nagal, the new pairing would not qualify.
The AITA though remained optimistic that more withdrawals may push the Indian team in the competition. Dhupar said they even had asked for a wild card for Leander Paes so that the legendry player could get a record eighth appearances at the Olympic Games.
"We wanted that Leander gets this unprecedented feat but ITF told us that there were no wild cards this time. We fought for Bopanna and Sharan also but unfortunately they could not get in. It was not our fault that they could not qualify due to their rankings," he said.
In the release, AITA also did not appreciate Sania saying that a medal chance in the mixed team has been sacrificed.
"Even the comments of Sania Mirza are most inappropriate, because there was no possibility of her being able to partner Rohan in the Mixed Doubles event till he qualified.
"Ranking of Rohan with Divij or Sumit Nagal were not good enough for qualification. So how did we we lose an opportunity to win medals either in men’s doubles or mixed doubles.
"This tweets and statements of Mr. Bopanna are condemned unequivocally by the AITA," the statement read.
News source: PTI
AITA Secretary General Anil Dhupar rues Bopanna and Mirza comments on social media, calls it inappropriate and misleading
With the Tokyo Olympics just around the corner, controversy surrounding veteran Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna and AITA continues over the Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualification. Taking to Twitter, Bopanna accused the Indian body of misleading him, resulting in a public exchange between the two parties.
In an exclusive interaction with SPOGO, the Hon’ Secretary General of AITA Mr. Anil Dhupar clarified the controversy that has made waves on social media and condemned the tweets by Indian senior tennis players Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza.
Full statement below:
“These tweets by Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza are most inappropriate and misleading. They are without facts, in fact I’m shocked that they don’t know the basic knowledge about the guidelines regarding the ITF rules about getting entry into the Olympics. I don’t understand Rohan and Sania’s frustration and they are most unwarranted. To make things clear, it’s up to the players who get good ranking who get into the qualifying of the Olympics. The Federation does not have a wild card to make our own kids enter into the Olympic qualifying.”
“Till 16th of July, Divij (Sharan) and Rohan (Bopanna), who are our best doubles players, were on the waiting list. All of a sudden, we received the good news from ITF on the 16th of July that Sumit Nagal has qualified to play singles. Anybody in the tennis fraternity who understands the sport knows that when a doubles player participates in the Olympics, they are also entitled to play the mixed doubles, the entry is not separate. We were very happy that we will be able to get doubles entry now with the singles entry of Sumit Nagal as the IOC has already mentioned in their rules that singles players will have priority over doubles players. Everyone is aware of this, including Mr. Rohan Bopanna”
“Since 16th of July was a Friday, we sent a note to the ITF that since our singles player has been included, we would like to change our nomination from Rohan - Divij to Rohan Bopanna and Sumit Nagal, if the rules permit. They wrote back to us on the 16th itself that there is no provision to change the nomination unless a player is injured, illness or due to special circumstances. However, this proposal will be open for seven hours and even if the nomination is accepted, the new player will not qualify as there are two better singles players already in the pipeline, so they became number three.”
“If Mr. Rohan Bopanna does not have a better ranking and he is not getting qualification because of that, then what is he talking about? Our job is to promote tennis, send recommendations which we are doing day in and out and instead of appreciating the efforts of the Federation, there are words being used that are not appreciated at all. We at AITA condemn his (Rohan Bopanna) and Sania Mirza’s statements. Sania doesn’t know if there is no men’s double entry, how does one win the medal? We feel proud that she is the only Indian lady to feature in the Olympics for the fourth time, but she is supporting a cause that she’s well aware of, despite that she is still writing things for reasons I don’t know.”
“If a men’s doubles team is not entered into the Olympics qualifying, no mixed doubles can be played. Everyone is aware of this, including Sania (Mirza) so why is she saying that we lost an opportunity to win a medal? No you have not lost, because losing is when we are not able to send the team. It is the ITF rules and it’s a sad thing for Indians as tennis players who have been supported by TOPS, who have been funding Indian players are unable to qualify. It’s bad luck.”
“Making such comments will not help the tennis fraternity or the sport at all. The fact is that we tried our best, despite the lack of time. The good news is, Sumit Nagal is playing singles and we applied for accreditation, invitation and other formalities for him on Saturday which needs to be done because of COVID. We only had Saturday and Monday where his application needed to be approved and I’m thankful to the Indian Olympic Association, the Deputy Chief Dr Prem Verma who worked very hard on Saturday evening and Monday to get Nagal his accreditation and invitation and he is flying to Tokyo today (20th July).”
“Through good teamwork we have managed to secure his entry in 24 hours, so allegations and words are only showing their frustration, we are all feeling bad that India is not playing doubles. For senior players to speak out, tweeting, retweeting, deleting and recording is not showing maturity. Nobody in the world can record without their consent, it’s against the law. Stop all these things Mr. Rohan Bopanna, we all feel proud of your achievements, you still have the age to accomplish more things and we can do that together.”
Also read: The Golden Slam Awaits Novak Djokovic at the Tokyo Olympics
AITA says why did Bopanna not qualify on his own after player accuses it of misleading on nomination
New Delhi, Jul 19 (Tennis news) Doubles player Rohan Bopanna, who failed to make the cut for the Tokyo Olympics along with Divij Sharan because of their low combined rank, on Monday accused AITA of misleading everyone by claiming it had changed the combination by pairing him with Sumit Nagal for a shot at qualification.
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) hit back at Bopanna by saying that it only tried to help him since he could not qualify on his own.
The AITA had announced the nomination of Bopanna and Sharan for the men's doubles event of the Tokyo Games.
However, Bopanna (38) and Sharan (75), with a low combined rank of 113 missed out on qualification. According to the International Tennis Federation (ITF), a few days before the July 16 deadline, they were the fifth alternate.
But, after Nagal made the cut for the men's singles on July 16 following large-scale withdrawals, AITA saw hope in getting a men's doubles team's entry since singles players were being given the priority to fill the doubles draws.
The AITA announced that it had changed the combination by pairing Bopanna with Nagal.
Also read: Tennis player Nagal makes singles cut for Tokyo Olympics; AITA pairs him with Bopanna, withdraws Sharan
"ITF has never accepted an entry for Sumit Nagal & myself. ITF was clear that no changes were allowed after the nomination deadline (22nd June) unless Injury/Illness. AITA has mislead the players, government, media and everyone else by stating we still have a chance," Bopanna tweeted.
AITA secretary general Anil Dhupar said they reached out to the ITF for changing the nomination.
"We wrote to the ITF that we want to change the nomination and now want to pair Bopanna with Nagal, so please advise us how to go forward. While they said changing the nomination was possible only in case of injury and illness and also under special circumstances, they said they would keep us posted even as only seven hours are left for deadline to expire," Dhupar told PTI.
"So, where is the question of misleading anyone. How are we supposed to gain by it? The fact is that Bopanna's ranking was not good enough for qualification. We only tried to help him so that he could compete in the Games. Why he did not qualify on his own?" Reacting to Bopanna's tweet, Sania Mirza wrote, "Whaaattt??? If this is true then it's absolutely ridiculous and shameful..by this it also means that we have sacrificed a very good shot at a medal in the mixed doubles if you and I would have played as planned. We were both told that you and Sumit's names have been given." However, the question of missing out on a shot at medal in the mixed doubles does not arise since Bopanna could not qualify for the men's doubles.
Only those players can play the mixed event who are are already part of the singles or doubles draw.
The tennis competition opens on July 24.
News source: PTI
Olympics: India's contingent checks in at Tokyo, training from Monday
Tokyo, Jul 18 (Olympics news) Excited and cautious in equal measure, the first batch of athletes from India's Olympic contingent arrived in Tokyo on Sunday, clearing the exhaustive COVID-19 related protocols at the airport before entering the Games village on a day when two sportspersons staying there tested positive for the dreaded virus.
All 88 athletes underwent COVID testing at the airport and were found to be negative. They will start training from Monday, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) said in a press release.
"The infection control protocol has been briefed to all the contingent members and COVID testing kits have been distributed to the respective coaches," SAI added.
The delegation was received by Dr Prem Verma, India's deputy chef-de-mission and COVID Liaison Officer at the Games.
The contingent from India, which left on Saturday night after a grand send-off, was joined by the shooters and boxers who were training in Italy and Croatia.
The group travelling from India included archers, badminton players, table tennis players, both the men's and women's hockey teams, and qualifiers from judo, gymnastics, and swimming among others.
They landed in the Japanese capital aboard a chartered Air India flight from New Delhi.
"It was a six hour wait at the (Narita) airport where we underwent COVID-19 tests but that was expected. All came out clear and we have checked into the Games village. All smooth so far," a contingent member told PTI.
The group included stars such as world champion shuttler P V Sindhu, six-time world champion boxer M C Mary Kom, world no.1 boxer Amit Panghal, world no.1 archer Deepika Kumari and TT player Manika Batra among others.
"Their PVC (pre-valid cards) were also validated at the airport. All athletes coaches and support staff have been conveniently accommodated in the village and all are comfortable.
"They enjoyed their meals at the dining hall and all of them are at ease and relaxed." The Indians arrived on a day when two athletes staying at the Games village and one at a designated hotel were confirmed COVID positive by the organisers, who insisted that they are prepared for some cases given the influx of people in the city.
The Indians were duly masked, some of them even wore face shields as they went through the paperwork at the airport before boarding buses to the Games Village.
The total number of Games-related COVID cases have now risen to 55 as per the OC records.
The Games will be held behind closed doors as infections soar in the Japanese capital, which is recording more than 1,000 cases per day for the past few days.
Despite the scepticism, IOC President Thomas Bach has insisted that the Games pose "zero risk" for the residents of Olympic village and the Japanese people in general.
On Saturday night, Sports Minister Anurag Thakur gave a formal send-off to the contingent at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi amid loud cheers, claps and plenty of good wishes.
Also read: Indian shooting team looks forward to first training session in Tokyo
The IGI witnessed unprecedented scenes as a red carpet was laid out for the contingent. Such was the euphoria surrounding the send-off, that the Government of India had arranged for a special Olympic Contingent Clearance immigration line for the Tokyo-bound members.
The send-off ceremony was also attended by Minister of State for Sports, Nisith Pramanik, Sports Authority of India Director General Sandip Pradhan and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) officials, including President Narinder Batra and Secretary General Rajeev Mehta.
Some Indian athletes reached Tokyo a few days earlier from their respective training bases abroad.
India's lone weightlifter in fray, Mirabai Chanu entered Tokyo on Friday from her training base in St Louis, USA.
India will be represented by a 228-strong contingent, including 119 athletes, at the Games.
Four Indian sailors -- Nethra Kumanan and Vishnu Saravanan (laser class), KC Ganapathy and Varun Thakkar (49er class) -- were the first from the country to reach Tokyo from their training bases in Europe. They started training on Thursday.
Besides, the rowing team has also reached the city.
The ones still to arrive include wrestlers, led by the redoubtable Bajran Punia and Vinesh Phogat, tennis star Sania Mirza along with the rest of the team and the athletics contingent, which features strong medal hope javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra.
News source: PTI
Tennis player Nagal makes singles cut for Tokyo Olympics; AITA pairs him with Bopanna, withdraws Sharan
New Delhi, Jul 16 (Tennis news) Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal on Friday made the cut for the men's singles event of the Tokyo Olympics as large-scale withdrawals pushed him inside the qualification mark.
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) promptly paired him with Rohan Bopanna for the men's doubles competition by withdrawing Divij Sharan's nomination.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) communicated to the AITA that Nagal was eligible for men's singles, hours before the deadline for entries expires.
Nagal was ranked 144 on June 14, when ATP rankings were to be considered for direct entries.
Till Thursday, the cut-off was in the range of 130 as Yuki Bhambri, with his protected ranking of 127, made the cut.
However, since he recently underwent a procedure on his right knee in the US, he has made himself unavailable and confirmed it to the PTI.
The stringent protocols under which the Games are being held and the fear of contracting the coronavirus has pushed many to withdraw, forcing the authorities to keep lowering the cut-off mark.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran was ranked 148 on June 14 and it remains to be seen if he also makes the cut by the time the deadline ends at 8:30pm IST.
"ITF has confirmed Nagal's entry for singles. We spoke to him and he accepted his entry. We have approached IOA and requested to arrange for his accreditation," Anil Dhupar, AITA's secretary general, told said.
Since the ITF is giving priority to singles players for filling up the men's doubles draw, AITA sniffed a chance to get a spot by fielding Nagal with Bopanna, who was earlier nominated with Divij Sharan.
Bopanna and Sharan, with a combined rank of 113, till Friday morning formed the fourth alternate team.
"We have withdrawn Divij Sharan's nomination and sent a new team to ITF. Let' see if Bopanna and Nagal can enter," Dhupar added.
It is imperative that Bopanna makes the cut for the men's doubles because it is highly unlikely that Nagal and Sania Mirza would make it to the mixed doubles event, which is a 16-team affair.
Also read: Tennis player Nagal now eligible for Tokyo singles draw, Yuki misses out due to injury
The ITF, as of now, has not confirmed if Bopanna and Nagal can enter the men's doubles.
"We are not in a position to speculate on doubles scenarios. Gunneswaran is still a few places below the cut-off," an ITF official told PTI.
As of now only Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina are certain to compete in the women's doubles draw. Sania used her protected rank of nine to enter with Ankita.
All top-10 players get direct entry and have the privilege to choose a partner of their choice, who is ranked inside top-300.
News source: PTI
Memoirs of a Brigadier: Chef de Mission's Mission Impossible
New Delhi, Jul 16 (Olympics news) Tackling egos, managing resources, enforcing discipline -- sounds difficult? Well, that's the life of a chef-de-mission at the Olympic Games.
The 2012 London edition was India's most successful Olympic outing with half a dozen medals and the contingent's chef-de-mission, Brig (Retd) P K Muralidharan Raja, spoke to PTI about the many back-room challenges he encountered in the job, for which he wasn't even the original choice, at least on record.
"The IOA secretary general Randhir Singh asked me a year before the Olympics, 'Brig Raja, how are you placed to be India's deputy chef-de-mission?' I said I am quite fine for it," Raja recalled.
That was also the time when Indian sport was reeling under the after-effects of the 2010 Commonwealth Games corruption scandal which had led to IOA President Suresh Kalmadi's removal and subsequent jailing along with some other IOA functionaries. V K Malhotra was at the helm of affairs for the national olympic body.
"(Hockey great) Ajit Pal Singh was to be the chef-de-mission. At the same time I was also told that Mr Ajit Pal is not too well. He always had a back ache and lot of other issues. So I was told that officially 'we are making you deputy chef-de-mission but in all probability you will have to take over as chef-de-mission'," the 65-year-old Raja said.
"One reason why they didn't announce my name as chef de mission was that there would have been an uproar in the IOA. Because chef-de-missions were usually people higher up in the hierarchy, like vice presidents or higher. I was an executive committee member at that time, comparatively junior," he revealed.
As it turned out, Ajit Pal was too unwell to make the trip to London, leaving Raja in charge. And the most challenging aspect of his job was to allot accommodation at the Games Village.
"I couldn't have allowed a situation where Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi ended up in the same room," Raja laughed referring to the infamous feud between the two reigning superstars of Indian tennis surrounding who would partner Sania Mirza at the Games.
Eventually, none of them could fetch a medal but there was enough drama before departure to put a soap opera to shame.
Sania had famously lambasted the duo as well as the national federation, saying that she had been used as a bait to placate Paes. Paes had demanded that she be his mixed doubles partner at the Games.
"So with the tennis team, I had to ensure two sets of rooms in which one could go to Mahesh and other to Leander. Had I just left it to the team and told them to divide, there would have been chaos," Raja said.
"People from IOA said why are you putting your head so much to it, just aise chhabi de do, baant denge... That would have led to total chaos. And the Organising Committee was not going to give you a single extra room," he added.
Once that was settled "peacefully", Raja's next challenge came pretty soon -- the "Olympic Mystery Woman" at the opening ceremony.
Clad in a red track suit, Madhura Nagendra walked beside India's flag-bearer Sushil Kumar, leaving the contingent dressed in formals dumbfounded and those watching at home bemused.
"Imagine after doing all the brain-storming to ensure that the requisite number of delegates walk during the ceremony, after so much difficulty, this girl Madhura jauntily walks in and takes away the limelight from us," he couldn't hide his amusement.
"At that time, everyone, including the athletes felt upset. They said we worked so hard to be here and this one girl has taken away all the limelight. She probably didn't realise, she took it as a joke," he said referring to the Bangalore woman who was part of a dance troupe at the ceremony.
"...she was just standing there. She thought 'arre India contingent, my country, let me just join them." The Indian contingent got an apology from the organisers after officially protesting against the security breach.
"But I was the one saddled with questions about how it happened and why it happened. But chalo, that storm also passed," he said.
Aside from this, Raja was also responsible for opening the Indian contingent's bank account in London, ensure documentation for the travelling doctors, liaison with the volunteers allotted to the country's delegation and was also in charge of the cars.
"They give you such fancy cars. And the volunteers could double up as your drivers if you cannot drive yourself. 10-12 vehicles were given to us. The number depends on the size of the contingent," he said.
And it is with managing these vehicles that Raja found his next big headache.
"After first two days, I noticed that vehicles were going missing for whole day altogether, I mean people would go shopping in these vehicles and then I started getting complaints from athletes, 'sir, humko training pe jaana hai, there is no vehicle'," he said.
"...training slots in Olympics are very specific, you cannot change them if you miss your slot," he added.
Raja recalled calling for a meeting of managers after that to get details of their local travel requirements and figure the optimum utilisation of the available vehicles.
"....there were people who wanted dedicated vehicles. One huge name with starry tantrums had her mother there as manager, she wanted a dedicated vehicle, somebody else also wanted that arrangement. Ultimately I said sorry, can't happen," he said.
Also read: IOA names Security Attache B K Sinha as Press Attache of India's Olympic contingent
"I told drivers, that if somebody goes for training for an hour, wait. Otherwise come back and go to pick them closer to the time they are done. Managers started saying 'ye to fauji type kar rahe ho aap'," he laughed again.
"Some IOA people, who were not even staying in Games village, wanted vehicles dedicated to them," he still sounded astonished.
After entertaining them a few times, Raja said he had to say, "I am sorry, it is meant for only athletes and coaches." "The responsibility is mine. They became unhappy with me but I said doesn't matter, I was anyway finishing my tenure as secretary of the boxing federation. So, I would rather do this job properly." Raja said with daily managers' meeting, it was no hassle for him to handle the logistics during the Games.
"Coordination is chef-de-mission's responsibility. In Army, we have this small notebook in which we keep noting down, what's to be done, what's done, all the points. That's how you do it here too," he said.
And what would he say to those wanting to take up the "lucrative" job in future Games? "If you take it seriously and sincerely, life of a chef-de-mission is a very hectic one." At the Tokyo Games, long-serving administrator B P Baishya will be the chef-de-mission with Prem Verma as his deputy.
News source: PTI
Tennis player Nagal now eligible for Tokyo singles draw, Yuki misses out due to injury
New Delhi, Jul 16 (Tennis news) Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal is now eligible to compete in the men's singles event at the Tokyo Olympics, the world governing body ITF has communicated to the AITA, a source in the national tennis body said on Friday.
Nagal was ranked 144 on June 14, when ATP rankings were to be considered for direct entries.
Another specialist singles player Prajnesh Gunneswaran was ranked 148 and it remains to be seen if he also makes the cut as the deadline for accepting tennis entries is closing in a few hours from now.
The stringent protocols under which the Games are being held and the fear of contracting coronavirus has forced many withdrawals that kept lowering the cut-off mark.
"We have received a mail from the ITF that Sumit is now eligible. They have asked for his details. We have started the process of getting him in," an AITA official told PTI.
Yuki Bhambri, with his Protected Ranking of 127, also made the cut but since he recently underwent a procedure on his right knee in the US, he has made himself unavailable.
Also read: Touching 40s, India's Table Tennis great Sharath Kamal hits peak ahead of Tokyo Olympics
"I won't be playing," Bhambri told PTI in a terse message.
If Nagal can make it to Tokyo by completing all the required formalities, it remains to be seen if he makes the doubles draw with Rohan Bopanna, who could not enter with Divij Sharan till now.
Bopanna and Sharan's combined rank is 113 and they were still fifth alternate recently.
ITF is giving priority to the singles players to fill the doubles draw.
Nagal's entry would also mean that India can now have a team in the mixed doubles draw as well.
As of now only Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina are certain to compete in the women's doubles draw. Sania used her protected rank of nine to enter with Ankita.
All top-10 players get direct entry and have the privilege to choose a partner of their choice, who is ranked inside top-300.
News source: PTI
Naomi Osaka is looking to triumph at home in the Tokyo Olympics
It is always a proud moment to represent the whole nation and compete against the top players in the world. Victory anthem in the podium and the millions of eyes watching these moments, it is indeed an event which is every athlete’s dream finish. The women’s Olympic tennis witnessed history upon its continuance in 1988 when Steffi Graff won the only ever Golden Slam. After that, it has seen the Russians taking home the top three medals in singles at the Beijing Olympics 2008. There have been a lot of records and milestones in the Olympics for women in tennis. There have been different winners on top with the most consistent being the Williams sisters.
The women's singles draw looks promising as most of the top players in the field are competing in this year’s Olympics which is being held at Tokyo. Serena Williams would not be competing this time because of her injury, as for her sister Venus Williams who has been competing since 1996 and has won five medals most likely won't compete this year. Monica Puig the defending champion will also not be competing as she has undergone shoulder surgery, she earlier became the first Puerto Rican to win a gold medal at the Olympics. US Open winner and teen sensation Bianca Andreescu will also not be competing this time due to Covid concerns.
Newly crowned Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty, who is also the world number 1 will be tough to deal with and world number 2 Naomi Osaka will be the favourite to win the gold medal as it also played in hardcourt, that too in her own backyard. Iga Świątek the 2020 French Open Champion will make her debut this time and she can pull a major upset in Tokyo. Heather Watson will be playing Singles and Doubles this time, she won the 2016 Wimbledon mixed doubles and will hope to do one better this time. In tennis news, the USA team will be led by one of the youngest Olympic tennis players, 17 year old Coco Gauff, who made the Quarterfinals of this year’s French Open and defeated Venus William in the Wimbledon in 2019. In the Indian team Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina will be competing in the women’s doubles, as India for the first time since 1988 won't feature a Men's doubles team. In the Rio Olympics, Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna came real close to winning a medal in the mixed doubles.
Aryna Sabalenka, Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova, and Garbine Muguruza are all set to compete. Pliskova will be looking to avenge her Wimbledon final loss to Ashleigh Barty.Garbine Muguruza, the former world number 1 and two time Grand Slam champion can use her powerful flat groundstrokes which can come in handy to tackle the opponent in hard courts and with her experience can take on the new recruits. Osaka can become the first Women’s tennis player from Japan to win a medal in the Olympics as Kei Nishikori is the only other one. There won't be any spectators for the first time and it would be interesting to see how the players battle it out.
Interesting Fact: Venus Williams is the first tennis player to win a medal at four Olympic games. (2000, 2008, 2012, 2016)
Mirza-Bopanna pair ousted from Wimbledon Championships
London, Jul 7 (Tennis news) Rohan Bopanna stayed solid with his service games and net play but Sania Mirza's serve was consistently put under pressure as the Indian team was ousted from the Wimbledon Championships following a three-set defeat in the stop-start mixed doubles third round, here on Wednesday. The contest resumed with the 14th seed pair of Jean Julien-Roger and Andreja Klepac having a one-set lead and they finished on the right side of the result with a 6-3 3-6 11-9 scoreline.
Mirza has not played much competitive tennis post her comeback and is struggling to get her serve right.
Serving to stay in the match at 5-6 in the decider, Mirza managed to hold after a few anxious moments.
It was largely Bopanna's reflexes at the net and a solid game from the baseline apart from a superb lob from Mirza that helped the Indians pull off the game after two deuce.
Mirza again served in a similar situation at 9-10. Roger hit a crushing forehand winner at 15-15 and then Bopanna's volley sailed over the baseline.
The Dutch player, on the second match point, then executed a stunning service winner, that whizzed past from Bopanna's right side.
It was Mirza's last tournament before the Tokyo Games where she will compete in the women's doubles with Ankita Raina.
With this defeat India's challenge has ended at the grass court Grand Slam.
Also read: Former tennis players Paes-Bhupathi set to reunite for a web series
News source: PTI
Bopanna-Mirza pair wins historic all-Indian Wimbledon match
London, Jul 2 (Sports news) The experienced pair of Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza defeated the brand new combination of Ramkaumar Ramanathan and Ankita Raina 6-2 7-6 (5) in the historic all-Indian mixed doubles first round match at the Wimbledon here on Friday.
It was the first time in open era that two Indian teams competed against each other at a Grand Slam tournament.
The contest finally brought a Grand Slam debut for Ramkumar, who has made 21 attempts to qualify for the singles main draw of a tennis major.
While the first set ended quickly in favour of the veterans, Ramkumar and Raina presented a good fight in the second set, which even they led for a brief period with a break of serve.
Also read: India at Wimbledon: Ankita Raina and partner bow out in first round of women's doubles
Bopanna was clearly the best player on the court with his powerful serve and solid ground strokes from the baseline as well as the ability to execute a superior net game.
On expected lines, Ramkumar served big while Raina gave her all after growing in confidence.
Mirza's serve is still not at its best and would improve as she plays more matches.
Mirza has moved has also moved to women's doubles second round with Bethanie Mattek-Sands while Raina and her American partner Lauren Davis lost in straight sets to the US pair of Asia Muhammad and Jessica Pegula on Thursday night.
The 14th seeds disposed off the challenge from the Raina-Davis pair 6-3 6-2 in 70 minutes.
Bopanna and Divij Sharan are already out, having lost their men's doubles opening round match.
News sourece: PTI
India at Wimbledon: Ankita Raina and partner bow out in first round of women's doubles
London, Jul 2 (Sports news) Ankita Raina's maiden appearance in Wimbledon's main draw ended in disappointment as the Indian and her American partner Lauren Davis lost in straight sets to the US pair of Asia Muhammad and Jessica Pegula.
The 14th seeds disposed off the challenge from the Raina-Davis pair beating them 6-3 6-2 in 70 minutes during a late evening match on Court No 11.
Ankita, however, will be pairing with compatriot Ramkumar Ramanathan in the mixed doubles event where they would meet their country's seasoned pair of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna.
Also read: Rohan Bopanna, Divij Sharan miss cut for tennis men's doubles event at Tokyo Games
Sania and her American partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands are through to the second round of women's doubles while Bopanna and Divij Sharan are already out, having lost their men's doubles opening round encounter.
News source: PTI
Rohan Bopanna, Divij Sharan miss cut for tennis men's doubles event at Tokyo Games
New Delhi, Jun 30 (Tennis news) In a setback to India's medal chances in the tennis event of Tokyo Olympics, Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan have missed the cut for men's doubles, which also rules out the country's presence in the mixed team competition, its best chance for a podium finish.
It was expected that with a low combined ranking of 113, Bopanna (38) and left-handed Sharan's (75) entry would depend only on large scale withdrawals.
"The ITF has confirmed that Bopanna and Divij could not be entered as a team in the men's doubles team. However, things might change till July 16 (if there are more withdrawals)," an AITA source told PTI.
When All India Tennis Association (AITA) Secretary General Anil Dhupar was contacted, he said he will be able to give a clear picture only when he has the complete entry list in his hands.
Despite some withdrawals, the cut for 22 teams out of 24 direct acceptances was as high as in mid-60s, according to sources but the final cut-off could not be confirmed.
Even if there are more withdrawals, it will be extremely difficult for India to have a team in men's doubles.
The priority would first be given to singles ranked players, then the singles-doubles combination and then the doubles-doubles ranking combination.
Since many top players are not part of the singles draw, the lower-ranked players, who consistently compete in doubles also, would not miss the chance to play two events at the Olympics.
Each player is allowed to be in two events.
As per rules, only those players can be a part of the mixed team event who are already in one of the main draws (either singles our doubles).
In India's case, it was imperative for Bopanna to be in men's doubles so that he can be paired with Sania Mirza, who is set to compete in her fourth Olympics with Ankita Raina in the women's doubles event.
Sania and Rohan came close to winning a bronze in 2016 but they lost the bronze play-off to Czech Republic's Radek Stepanek and Lucie Hradecka in straight sets.
The limited number of opportunities in terms of tournaments due to the COVID-19 lockdown and travel restrictions made it tough for both Bopanna and Sharan to improve their rankings.
Bopanna was ranked 38th at the start of the year while Sharan's ranking only got worse after starting at number 63.
India have never missed out on fielding a men's doubles team at the Olympics ever since a young Leander Paes and Ramesh Krishnan competed at the 1992 Games in Barcelona.
In editions after that, Paes was there mostly with Mahesh Bhupathi. In 2016 Paes and Bopanna competed and lost in the first round. News source: PTI
AITA requests ITF to consider Ankita Raina’s Asian Games bronze for Olympic entry
New Delhi, Jun 26 The national tennis federation has requested the ITF to consider Ankita Raina's bronze-medal winning performance at the 2018 Asian Games for a place in the women's singles draw of the Tokyo Olympics since the gold and silver medallists from China are eligible for a direct entry due to their higher ranks.
Ankita had won a bronze at the 2018 Asian Games, where the winner was assured of a Continental qualification place in the women's singles draw at the Tokyo Olympics.
Wang Qiang had won the gold while her Chinese compatriot Zhang Shuai took silver at the Games held in Jakarta and Palembang.
As per the June 14 WTA rankings, both Zhang (world number 36) Shuai (world number 38) are eligible for direct entry.
The ITF rules for the eligibility criteria state that athletes who achieve both a Continental Games qualification place and subsequently a Direct Acceptance ranking, will qualify using the Continental Qualification quota place.
As per the ITF rules, if the winner does not accept the quota or becomes ineligible for it, the Continental place can be given to the silver medallist and so on.
However, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) has written to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) that Ankita be considered for an entry so that the country can have representation at the Games in the singles event. "We wrote to them about Ankita's entry through the Continental route and they said they will let us know," a senior AITA official told PTI.
"It makes sense that the Continental place is given to the next best performer if gold and silver medal winners can make it to the draw basis their higher rank." Ankita was ranked 181 on June 14 when the rankings were considered for direct entries.
With such a low rank even mass withdrawal won't help in the draw of 64.
Ankita, though, will make her Olympic debut in Tokyo in the women's doubles after being picked as partner by Sania Mirza, who was assured of direct entry due to her top-10 rank.
Sania has used her protected ranking (9) to enter the Olympics.
Meanwhile, reliable sources have said India will not be able to have representation in the men's singles since the cut fell at 105 and India's best players -- Sumit Nagal (144) and Prajnesh Gunneswaran (148) are not even close to the mark.
It remains to be seen if Rohan Bopanna (38) and Divij Sharan (75) will get entry in the men's doubles. Their combined rank of 113 as of June 14 means that their qualification would depend on withdrawal of teams from other nations.
Bopanna and Sharan had won the gold at the Asian Games but the quota was kept only for the singles winners.
If India won't be able to field a team in the men's doubles, then the country will also go unrepresented in the mixed doubles event since the 16-team competition will have players only from main draws of other events. News source PTI
'Restrictions on Olympic-bound departing from India not applicable on those training abroad'
New Delhi, Jun 25 India's Olympic-bound athletes, who are training abroad right now and scheduled to reach Tokyo directly from their current bases, will not face the stricter restrictions that have been put in place for those travelling from the country, Deputy Chef de Mission Prem Verma said on Friday.
While the Indian contingent will be allowed to train during their three-day on-arrival quarantine, they won't be allowed to meet athletes from other countries during the hard quarantine.
"Indian athletes preparing for the Games overseas and reaching Tokyo directly would not face the restrictions applicable to those who have been residing in India for 14 days before departure," Verma was quoted as saying by the Sports Authority of India in a statement.
This is likely to benefit the shooters, who are currently training in Croatia and Italy, top wrestlers like Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia, tennis star Sania Mirza and javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra among others.
Verma also said Tokyo Olympics Organising Committee has increased the list of accredited laboratories for COVID-19 tests to a number of cities across the country.
Verma told the athletes and support staff that a number of issues raised by the IOA have been addressed by the Tokyo OC to India's satisfaction.
He said there would no restriction on training of Indians, but they cannot meet athletes from other countries for the first three days.
India is clubbed with Afghanistan, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, in group 1 countries with serious COVID-19 situation.
The Indian contingent departing from New Delhi will have to upload its health status for each of the seven days prior to departure on the Organising Committee health app along with negative RT-PCR reports from approved labs, 96 and 72 hours prior to the journey.
Apart from this, the Tokyo-bound contingent will also undergo sensitisation workshops on three modules titled "Life in Tokyo, Playing Clean and From India with Pride." Life in Tokyo explains the preparations for travel in the fortnight before departure, the formalities to be completed before travel, including vaccination, and anti-bodies test reports.
Athletes and support staff from Hockey, Judo, Rowing, Boxing and Wrestling attended the opening session on Life in Tokyo on Friday.
Athletes like Badminton player PV Sindhu, ace paddler Sharath Kamal, fencer Bhavani Devi and equestrian athlete Fouaad Mirza were among those who attended the first 'Playing Clean module', an anti-doping session conducted by officials of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) on Thursday.
At the formal launch on Friday, SAI DG Sandip Pradhan congratulated the athletes, and the coaching and support staff for staying committed to their preparation for the Olympic Games. He said the members of the contingent were the country's brand ambassadors and were the pride of the nation.
"It is important that we understand the protocols laid down by the organising committee. The Olympic Games is being held under different circumstances imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It is the duty and responsibility of each member of the contingent to feel comfortable and safe in the environment," Pradhan said.
Over 100 athletes from India have qualified for the Games. News source PTI
Indian tennis player Sania Mirza and Mattek-Sands crash out of Viking International Eastbourne
Eastbourne (UK), Jun 24 Indian tennis star Sania Mirza and her doubles partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands lost their first round match in straight sets at the Viking International Eastbourne here.
The unseeded Indo-American pair lost 3-6 4-6 to the Christina Mchale and Sabrina Santamaria of USA in a match that lasted one hour 18 minutes late on Wednesday night.
The 34-year-old winner of six Grand Slams in doubles will pair up with Mattek-Sands in the women's doubles event of Wimbledon, starting on June 28. News source PTI
India's chances to field men's doubles team at Tokyo Olympics to depend on entries from other nations
New Delhi, Jun 14 India will have to wait to know if a men's doubles team from the country will compete at the Tokyo Olympics since Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan's qualification, who have a low combined ranking of 113, would depend on number of entries from other nations.
The top-10 players have the privilege to select a partner of their choice as per the ITF rules but Bopanna is ranked 38 and left-handed Sharan is placed as low as 75 after the fresh rankings were issued on Monday following the conclusion of the French Open.
Bopanna's quarterfinal appearance helped him gain two places while Sharan's first round exit resulted in him losing one place. A total of 32 teams each will feature in the men's and women's doubles draw.
Both Bopanna and Sharan are unsure of their participation.
"Completely alien as it all depends which players and teams are going . Impossible to calculate like other events," Bopanna told PTI when asked about their chances.
According to International Tennis Federation (ITF) qualification system, rankings of June 14 will be considered for entries and each nation is limited to a maximum of six men and six women, with a maximum of four singles players and two doubles teams for both genders.
The ITF will announce on July 5 which players have made it to the draws and Bopanna and Sharan will get an idea by the end of June to know their fate.
If the ITF receives fewer entries due to the concerns around pandemic, Bopanna and Sharan's chances will improve.
As of now, only Sania Mirza is assured of a place in the women's doubles as she will use her protected ranking to enter the Games, She was ranked nine before she took maternity leave and has decided to compete with Ankita Raina.
There is a possibility that Ankita may enter the women's singles draw, getting one of the six Continental places.
The two finalists at the Asian Games were to be give Tokyo Olympics places but since China's singles champion Wang Qiang (38) and runner-up Zhang Shuai (36) may get direct entry courtesy their high ranks, bronze medallist Ankita could be given the Continental place. For 16-team mixed doubles event, on-site entries will be accepted on July 27.
The tennis event will start on July 24 and will culminate on August 1. News source PTI
Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna and Croatian Franko Skugor progress to 3rd round at French Open
Paris, Jun 3 Veteran Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna and his Croatian partner Franko Skugor advanced to the pre-quarterfinals of the French Open with a straight set win over Americans Frances Tiafo and Nicholas Monroe here on Thursday.
The unseeded Bopanna and Skugor prevailed over their rivals 6-4 7-5 in the second round match that lasted one hour and 20 minutes.
The 41-year-old Bopanna, ranked 40 in the world, is not defending any points this year at the Roland Garros.
He needs to earn points since the this is his last chance to improve his ranking. The rankings on June 10 will be considered for entry into the Tokyo Olympics.
Divij Sharan, though, lost his chance by losing his first round match.
The combined rankings of Bopanna and Sharan will be taken into account for entries. A low ranking will scuttle their chances.
As of now only Sania Mirza is assured of a place in the women's doubles draw. She will most likely pair with Ankita Raina. New source PTI
Our dream of winning the tennis Grand Slams can come true if the right sponsorship and training is provided - Anil Dhupar, Secretary General of AITA
Over the years, India has produced some outstanding tennis players. From Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupati, Sania Mirza, Vijay Amritraj and Rohan Bopanna to name a few, the sport has surged in popularity with India’s talent making its mark on the global stage. While the next generation aspires to accomplish greater heights, we’re delving into the world of tennis in India to see what’s in store for the future.
In an exclusive interview with SPOGO, Mr. Anil Dhupar, Secretary General of the All India Tennis Association speaks about the impact of COVID-19 on tennis in India, grassroot development, overcoming challenges, mental health and the future of tennis in the country.
Q 1) The COVID pandemic has disrupted sports around the world, how much of an impact has it had on AITA’s plans?
Ans: The pandemic has really made a lot of impact. After the first wave, we started a theme called ‘Return of Tennis’ which started on November 16th. Even though all the states in India were unable to conduct all the tournaments because of the restrictions given by the local government, we really did a good job at organizing all the tournaments at the junior, nationals, and international level with a prize money of 15,000 USD. Things were going on pretty well until the 2nd wave but since April onwards everything has stopped. There is no tennis, all academies are closed and it’s making a big impact on the junior players who could not be sent to the World Group Qualifying, the wheelchair team which was due to play for the first time in Portugal and similarly there were innumerable sectors that were affected in India. It has definitely impacted India more than other countries, especially in Europe.
Q 2) What is AITA doing at the grassroot level to promote tennis, especially in tier 2 and 3 cities?
Ans: We are conducting almost 600 tournaments in a year for the juniors. The junior category is from 10 years old to 12, 14, 16 and 18 years of age. These are All India Ranked Tournaments and the 12 and 14 year old juniors are sent to participate in the Asia/Oceania group. A child who is representing India is holding the flag as early as at the age of 12. We have the world’s finest scheme for junior tennis players known as the Talent Series Tennis Tournament which is organized for all age groups. When they become well versed with the tournament structure they progress to the Championship Series, Super Series and National Series. That’s how aspiring tennis players are promoted and it helps them develop into a good player. For the first time, we have started a national coaching camp in Delhi this January for 24 participants each amongst boys and girls from different states for a duration of 21 days. Unfortunately things have come to an end right now due to the pandemic.
Q 3) What are the biggest challenges that Indian tennis players face? How can those challenges be overcome?
Ans: There are multiple challenges that are faced by Indian tennis players. We need to have many more national and international tournaments in India which require money and sponsorship, either by corporates, state government or central government so that when Indian tennis players participate, they can get good points. We need to upgrade the tournament structure and have a series of international tournaments even at the junior level from grade 1 to 5. It is absolutely necessary for high ranked tournaments to be played in India so that tennis players in the country get ATP points to play across the world. Tennis is an expensive game and it needs sponsorship for players to travel and compete around the world. Sponsors need to support tennis as a sport and the government must support tournaments and despite the fact that they have started doing it, it's not to the extent that is required. There needs to be more tournaments for all categories. Having tournaments in India will help players save money that would be spent on travelling and would help get entry at the larger tournaments around the world.
Q 4) How is AITA grooming upcoming stars so that they can be competitive at the highest level?
Ans: A lot of tennis academies have come up around the country and there are many coaches that are certified by AITA. The benefits of that are that tennis players at the junior level are properly trained and even senior players are getting the best coaching facilities. We are still insisting to have many more in the years to come. There also has to be a willingness to come up in the grid and progress from the top 300, 200 to 100 in the world. Just like any other sport, passion is very important, not just for tennis players at the junior level but also parents. Parents need to be patient and supportive. We are conducting coaching camps, tournaments and are trying to get our junior players to participate in the Asia/Oceania group to give them more opportunities to participate and know where they stand as players. Even during the COVID times, we get 400 to 500 entries for the Nationals so the participation has grown and the desire to excel is now a part of the upcoming tennis players. That’s very important.
Q 5) Despite the fact that tennis is a physically demanding sport, how important of a role does mental health play?
Ans: It does play a very important role in every sport, especially in tennis. According to me, physical and mental strength is what determines a win or a loss. When two players contest a game they are at par in terms of physical strength but when they know which point to play in which fashion it makes all the difference. We have seen a lot of players losing a game from a winning position owing to the level of their mental toughness. They lose their mental toughness at some of the matches and lose the game. Mental toughness is very important and therefore many courses are brought into place in many academies including ours to make a child mentally tough. A child needs a physical trainer and a coach but along with it guidance on mental health and fitness is also very important.Therefore we have brought in some of the courses in this regard. Indeed mental fitness is equally as important as physical fitness.
Q 6) What needs to be done to get Indians to not just compete at the highest level such as Grand Slams or Olympics but also win?
Ans: It's a dream for all of us. In Europe there are about thirty to forty countries wherein the tennis circuit is still active and in full swing despite the pandemic. Naturally, the players hailing from these countries benefit from playing many more tournaments, spending a very little amount and gaining a large number of points. It Is very difficult for Indians as they have to travel extensively which a lot of people are not able to. We have a lot of talent to exploit but we need support, specially from corporate for grooming players. The dream of entering and winning Grand slams would definitely come true when we invest a lot of energy, money and corporate support as only then an Indian player will be able to do well at such levels.
Q 7) What do you envision as the future of tennis in India?
Ans: I think the future of tennis in India is fantastic. It's a game that has recently picked up as there were not many takers of the game earlier but today all towns and states across India are doing very well. We have a policy of registering players for junior, senior, men, women as well as the wheelchair categories. We have a system of registration and when you see it you will find that more and more players are joining the sport. My vision would be to create a system where a tennis player is not deprived of playing any tournament and his talent is exploited along with taking great care of it. We would like to go to the World Group as we did in the Fed Cup, the Billie Jean King Cup for the first time and we went into the World group this time. This can go on even in the junior levels, the junior Davis Cup and the Davis Cup. However, this will be only possible when all our players do well physically and mentally and are put into the right areas of playing the game. The biggest challenge for the All India Tennis Association today is where and when to start tennis and what kind of tennis as right now we don't have any clue from any corner of the state or anywhere else where tennis or any other game can be started. Hence once the pandemic is over, we are all geared up and will do our best to put our children on the roll and I'm sure this thing will help them in their future endeavors.
Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal also fails to make French Open main draw cut
Paris, May 27 India's top player Sumit Nagal could not make a hat-trick of Grand Slam main draw appearances following a straight-set defeat in the second round of the French Open Qualifying event here.
The Haryana youngster crashed out of the Clay Court major with a 3-6 3-6 loss to Alejandro Tabilo from Chile, last night.
In the engrossing contest that lasted one-and-a-half-hours, Nagal could break the serve of his rival, ranked 23 places below him at 146, only twice while he himself dropped his serve five times.
With the defeat of the 23-year-old from Jhajjar, India's challenge has ended in the Qualifiers.
Ramkumar Ramanathan, Prajnesh Guneswaran and Ankita Raina have already exited from the tournament.
Now India will be represented through Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan in the men's doubles main draw.
It is crucial for both of them to earn ranking points by going deep in the draw since the official rankings of June 10 will decide which players make the cut for the Tokyo Olympics.
Sania Mirza has decided not to compete in this tournament as she wanted to use her 'special ranking' to enter the Wimbledon Championships. New source PTI