Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The School of Power Tennis - Tennis star in the making - Indian Express Post

First Published : 08 Mar 2011

HYDERABAD: Son of a Railway Protection Force (RPF) constable and struggling to find funds to play in tournaments, Adduri Suresh Krishna has overcome all odds to script a fairytale to win the National grasscourt tennis title at Kolkata. The 21-year-old rising star from Tukaram Gate in Secunderabad defeated Ashutosh Singh of Delhi 6-4, 7-6 (6) in the men’s singles final last week. 

“It is one of the biggest wins of my career,’’ said the lanky Krishna, who is back in the city to play in the Moin-ud-Dowlah tennis tournament at Secunderabad Club. In a way, it is justification of the faith shown in him by his father A Seshagiri and coach Nagaraj. “Yes, it is a victory for my father also. He spotted the talent in me at a very young age and sacrificed a lot for my tennis career, including selling off few of our assets. His sacrifices disturbed me at times but my father always encouraged me saying, ‘Go ahead with the game. We are here to support you.’”

Krishna had difficulty in getting good racquets and skipped many tournaments for lack of funds. “It was a very hard grind. I was hard-pressed as I had only two or three racquets. It was difficult to purchase good racquets and shoes. Even taking part in tournaments was very difficult because the entry fee was around Rs.10,000,’’ he said.

Krishna and his coach Nagaraj tried to find sponsors but without success. “He won the National under-18 title when he was 15. He also won the junior ITF tournaments whenever he participated and could have won more if he had the money needed for practice and participation,’’ said Nagaraj. Incidentally, immediately after winning the national title, Head, a tennis company came forward to supply raquets to Krishna. The funds crunch has eased a bit after he was given a job by the South Central Railway.

Nagaraj, who has produced three Davis Cuppers Sushil Narla, Punna Vishal and Vishnu Vardhan at his modest Secunderabad tennis centre, says he saw raw talent in Krishna. “I remember Krishna’s father and his friend Subba Rao introducing a nine-year-old Krishna. He was gawky and hungry,’’ recalled Nagaraj.

Krishna’s interest in tennis grew after he saw Subba Rao’s son Jagadish playing tennis. “Seeing my passion for the game, my father and Subba Rao uncle initiated me into tennis. Jagadish even gave me his raquet,’’ said Krishna. Within a few months of training, he won the under-18 National title at the age of 15. He also won the ITF junior titles in 2007 and 2008. “He has good kicking serves and is an all-round player. He is comfortable on all surfaces. He is also very athletic,’’ said Nagaraj.

This year, the in-form Krishna has clinched the All-India ranking tournament at Trichy prior to the senior National tournament. In the entire tournament he lost only a single set to PC Vignesh (AP) in the quarter-finals on his way to his maiden national title.

From here what? “I wish the sponsors come forward to help him. It is important to play in tournaments outside India to gain international exposure. He has the talent to go places,’’ said Nagaraj.

For Krishna, who idolises Pete Sampras (for his serve) and Leander Paes (for his attitude), playing for the country in the Davis Cup is his biggest dream. “The next few years will be very crucial,’’ said Krishna, on a concluding note.  

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