Sunday, September 25, 2011

A rare instance in Davis Cup history - Vishnu Vardhan

Going places: India's Vishnu Vardhan hits a return against Kei Nishikori of Japan during their Davis Cup world group play-off in Tokyo. - AFP PHOTO
Going places: India's Vishnu Vardhan hits a return against Kei Nishikori of Japan during their Davis Cup world group play-off in Tokyo. - AFP PHOTO
It was a unique first for the Hyderabadis in Davis Cup history. For it provided the first instance of a non-playing captain S. P. Misra and the Davis cup debutant Jagadeesan Vishnuvardhan being Hyderabadis. Never did it happen in the past.
And, for Vishnuvardhan, it was not just a dream come true but also a memorable experience when he made his Davis Cup debut against Japan recently. This 25-year-old Hyderabadi, trained by the dedicated coach C. V. Nagaraj at the School of Power Academy at RRC Grounds, caught the imagination of the critics with an impressive performance against World No. 55 Kei Nishikori.
Not very often does a loser get such attention as Vishnuvardhan got. There were huge compliments from the likes of Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi also.
By his own confession, this champion player who has been in the circuit since 2003 played his best tennis for a long time. “I simply want to carry on and try to keep improving,” he says.
But the most important piece of advice comes from captain S. P. Misra. “You cannot be a promising player all your career. You have break away from the rest of the crowd and keep producing results by making most of the chances that come you way,” he says on the fellow Hyderabadi.
Trying to be more specific, Misra, who himself played Davis Cup between 1964 and 70 with distinction, believes that with his very strong first-serve and solid ground-strokes, Vishnu can go a long way.
“I sincerely feel that it is only the question of experience now. The more he plays in big events, the better player he will be,” he analysed.
Misra says that when Vishnu can be so good against such a seasoned campaigner like World No. 55 Nishikori it is a definite sign of great potential. Not many be aware that it was the genial Hyderabadi of yesteryears who made the first big move by giving the young talent a chance to be in the first four.
“The move to bring in Vishnu was inevitable as Somdev Devvarman was down with a shoulder injury and not sure of playing. So, I told him why take a risk and give a chance to this Hyderabad boy,” recalls Misra.
“Well, his first reaction was of immense joy and excitement. The best part was that he rose to the occasion. It was a performance where many forgot the end-result (a defeat) but were more enthused at the way Vishnu played the match,” says Misra.
“Remember that he did not get the Davis Cup chance by default alone. He was in the squad by virtue of his consistency in recent times. We just hope he keeps the Indian flag flying in the days to come,” feels the former Davis Cupper.
For his part, Vishnu has every reason to believe that this can well be the beginning of a new chapter in his career. “Playing Davis cup is the ultimate dream for any tennis player. And, I am aware of the huge expectations now and only hope to keep improving,” he says.

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