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Got the aces up his sleeve

Tennis player Sanam Singh has the fire and the legs, but will he be able to develop a weapon to succeed on the pro tour this year? Sharmistha Chaudhuri reports. Journey so far

sports Updated: Jan 07, 2012 01:25 IST
Sharmistha Chaudhuri
Sharmistha Chaudhuri
Hindustan Times
Sharmistha Chaudhuri,Tennis,Sanam Singh

Sanam Singh won a tennis doubles gold in his first Asian games at Ghoungzhou just over a year ago. One wouldn’t be surprised if the name fails to elicit too much of a response away from the tennis fraternity.

However, that may be set to change in the future. Not only does the 23-year-old from Chandigarh have an impressive junior record (world no 4 and Asian Junior champion) but it's also his performances in US collegiate tennis which have excited interest.

Setting him apart

Unlike most Indian players, the Asian Games doubles gold medalist has quick feet. Thus, it gives him an advantage when he manages to reach to the ball a split second faster than usual. What’s commendable is that Sanam is taking pains to cultivate his strength. He trains with good friend Somdev Devvarman's trainer Milos Galecic in the US to attain lower body strength and fitness.

Further, Sanam has quick hands and meets the ball far earlier than most of our lot. This in turn cuts down the reaction time available to his opponent.

The shortfall

The one thing the player has to make do with is his height. Sanam stands at 5’8” and that’s no asset in tennis. Considered short by most, it needn't be a deterrent for the youngster. After all, Michael Chang was only an inch taller and yet has a Grand Slam to his credit! But what Sanam does need to focus on this season is to develop a major weapon. He has the usual strokes but that one masterstroke is still lacking which will help him carve a niche in the sport.

2012 has to be all about garnering points for this youngster even though rankings never paint a true picture. Currently at No. 887 in the ATP list, Sanam must gain enough points to be considered for the Davis Cup squad.

Already hailed as a promising player by Somdev, Sanam, still has a long way to go. However, his off-court work ethic does give cause for optimism. After all, on the pro tour all players have the skill, it's the legs that separate the journeymen from the top stars.

First Published: Jan 06, 2012 23:36 IST