Thursday, January 23, 2014

Saketh Hopes for a Doubles Impact

It is a fitting reward for the hardworking Saketh Myneni, who was named in the six-member Davis Cup team for the Asia/Oceania group I match against Chinese Taipei.
Myneni, who had played US Collegiate tennis a few years ago, said it is a great chance to play alongside Rohan Bopanna.
The 26-year-old, who was a reserve in the tie against New Zealand in 2012, will team up with the experienced Rohan Bopanna. “It is an honour to be named in the Davis Cup squad,’’ said Myneni, who is coached by CV Nagaraj. Surely, his impressive performances with Russian partner Karen Khachanov in the Chennai Open, where they upset the top-seeded pair of Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, summoned the selectors’ attention.
Myneni, who had played US Collegiate tennis a few years ago, said it is a great chance to play alongside Rohan Bopanna. “He is a brother, friend and mentor for me. We trained off-season in Hyderabad this winter. He is a wonderful player. I have learnt a lot from him. Bops is a huge inspiration,” he said.
Myneni, who according to coach Nagaraj has a kicking service and a fine all-round game, felt that playing in Davis Cup makes a lot of difference to one’s career. “Psychologically, it boosts your morale and the game. It is a team event and there is tremendous team spirit. I’m looking forward to the Indore tie under a new captain (Anand Amritraj).”
He said his game has improved a lot, particularly on the physical side. “I have become stronger. It is important to be injury-free for the whole season. I worked a lot on all aspects of my game. I made sure that I developed, not only one particular aspect of the game but also all aspects of my game. I would like to keep a higher percentage of my serve. At the end of the day, I have to play smart tennis to be consistent in top-level tennis. I’m totally not relying on serves because the game has become a physical sport now. It needs an overall development,’’ Myneni said.
Myneni insisted that singles will be his priority. “I will use my doubles game to improve my singles game.’’
The Hyderabad-based player, who climbed to a career-high ranking of 263 in July 2013, hopes to break into top 200. “I’m 316 now. I would like to break in to top 200 this year. I would like to take my game to the next level. The transition from a Challenger to an ATP Tour player is huge. The intensity is important and physically you have to be very fit. You have to win three to four matches in a row to make it to that level,’’ he added.
Myneni agreed that planning is crucial to any player. “It is very important to take critical decisions in planning out the tournaments to make sure that you go forward.’’
The tall player said the Premier Tennis League at Pune is an opportunity for young players.
“It is a different concept. It is fun as well as competitive,’’ he remarked.

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