Paes reaches out to Olympic partner Vishnu Vardhan
Leander Paes may have wondered whether his new partner, Vishnu Vardhan, even has a pair of grasscourt shoes, but the doubles veteran is hoping that they put their best foot forward at the London Olympics.Updated: Jul 02, 2012 03:17 IST
Leander Paes may have wondered whether his new partner, Vishnu Vardhan, even has a pair of grasscourt shoes, but the doubles veteran is hoping that they put their best foot forward at the London Olympics.
Paes, currently playing at Wimbledon, and the All India Tennis Association (AITA) want to get the youngster ready ahead of the mega event. Vardhan will join Paes at Wimbledon later in the week and then accompany him to the USA, where Paes will be playing in World Team Tennis.
“The AITA is currently in the process of acquiring Olympics accreditation and visa for Vishnu so that he can join Leander at Wimbledon as soon as possible,” Dr Vece Paes, Leander’s father, told the HT.
Vardhan, 24, won two back-to-back Futures titles last month, and Paes believes his game, built around a strong serve, could be honed to make him a strong doubles prospect for India. “It is a challenge,” said Paes. “I have never played with him before. The whole idea behind this trip is to get him to know personally and to get some sort of rhythm on the tennis court.”
The pair is hoping to get at least 4-5 days of practice at Wimbledon before leaving for the USA.
The World Team Tennis is a city-based franchise competition where some of the best names from the past and present will compete from July 9-28. They will be in the States for two weeks. In the first week, the players tour around the country while in the second they will be based in Washington.
If nothing else, Vardhan can prepare to rub shoulders with the marquee names in the game. Paes plays for Washington Kastles, who also have the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, on board. Though the competition is held on hard courts, Vece Paes believes that any practice together before heading back to the Wimbledon grass for Olympics is essential.
“That is just how it has happened. They have roughly about a month to prepare. In tennis, most of the tuning in doubles is done during matches and not practice. But they don’t have that luxury; there are no tour events before the Olympics. So whatever time he has, Leander wants to make the best out of it,” added Dr Paes.
“No one is expecting them to win. But even if they can put up a respectable performance and go a couple of rounds into the draw — that’s what they are looking for.”
Playing his sixth Olympics, and possibly the last, the time to bring home that elusive doubles medal is running out but Paes is not ready to give up without a fight.
All about Vishnu
Vishnu Vardhan was caught in the crossfire between the warring estranged partners when he was picked by the All India Tennis Association to
partner Leander Paes in the London Olympics.
Now that things have settled down with Paes relenting, Vardhan will be getting together
with his new partner in a few days to prepare for the quadrennial
The 24-year-old from Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh is ranked 207 in doubles and 328 in singles. He has won 15 ITF Futures doubles titles and seven
Vardhan is on a high, having won two back-to-back Futures titles in the last two weeks in India.
A former national grass-court champion, Vardhan has got a big serve, which can prove a potent weapon on Wimbledon grass.
He was part of the Olympic core group.
Vardhan was a member of the Indian men's tennis team that won bronze medal in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China when both Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna made themselves unavailable.
He also partnered Sania Mirza to silver medal in mixed doubles at the Asian Games.