The Indian rain God may well be a tennis lover. It rained till Thursday morning and thereafter it didn’t. Instead a stiff breeze picked up as the day unfolded. The sun peeked out and alongside the breeze, it hastened to suck some of the moisture away.
Now on Friday morning the court looks good enough to play though it is still far from being fully dry. Rohan Bopanna walked out and bounced the ball at different parts of the green and made a wry face as it refused to get much of a bound back from the ground. “How’s the court looking, Rohan?” The man from Bangalore grinned back: “Thankfully, I am playing tomorrow!”
The Kolkata team of grass experts has done a pretty efficient job of getting the courts ready and the ground staff has pulled off a minor miracle – assisted by the super sopper –to get these courts ready in time for the first singles. The damp did seem to force some delay as the opening ceremony began at 10 am, with the first singles match between Ramkumar Ramanathan and Seong-Chan Hong beginning at 10.20 am.
This court is likely to have a very low bounce. It should assist underspin as that will probably die away. Unlike Wimbledon, our grass courts have blades that lie parallel to the ground. Wimbledon grass grows straighter and hence retains less moisture. The Chandigarh Club grass is set to aid the skidding ball. Since the ball is unlikely to bounce true, get set for a serve and volley feast. Friday’s matches will most likely go the way of the players who control the net.
Meanwhile, despite the breeze it is humid and sultry in the stands. Your correspondent is only moving his fingers but still getting coated in sweat. Out on court, it’s bound to be all the more sweaty. Given the conditions, this is set to be a battle of nerves. The court is unlikely to bound true, humidity is going to be a killer and there is a noisy bhangra-type drum banging away in the stands. It’s quintessential Indian Davis Cup atmosphere.
Ramkumar Ramanthan prevailed against South Korea’s Seong-Chan Hong 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, 6-5 (15-15) in the opening singles of the India-South Korea Davis Cup tie here on Friday.
In a scrappy match played under overcast conditions, the Korean capitulated to the humidity as he seemed to get a groin injury/pull. The exact cause of his pull out cannot be confirmed at the moment.