The Telegraph
Saturday , January 11 , 2014
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‘Banking on South Club memories’

Calcutta: Even a year-and-a-half ago, Vishnu Vardhan seemed to have a bright prospect.

But at present, ranked 663, Vishnu has had few reasons to cheer about. There has hardly been any success since his performance in India’s 5-0 win over New Zealand Davis Cup Asia/ Oceania relegation play-off back in September 2012.

However, he vows to change his fortunes. He views the National Grasscourt Tennis Championships, the main draw begins from Monday, at the South Club, as a platform to make a turnaround. The competition, he feels, will also help him vie for a comeback in the Davis Cup squad.

“I’ve fond memories of this place. The last time I played the tournament here (back in December 2007), I had won.

“So obviously, it will be great if I can win it again this time around. But there’s a long way to go. I’m just focused on taking it match by match,” said Vishnu, who’s among the four wild card entrants, here, at the South Club, on Friday.

The other players in the men’s section to get a wild card are Mohit Mayur, local boy Mohammed Azhar and Ashwin Vijay Raghavan. Among the women, Shweta Rana, Vaishnavi Pedi Reddy, Nidhi Chilumala and Shruti Gupta are the wild cards.

Overall, there are 32 players each in men’s and women’s sections, with 16 teams in doubles. This edition of the competition carries prize money of Rs 7 lakh.

Vishnu feels that the National Grasscourt meet should add some incentive to ensure the participation of the country’s top players like Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanathan. “Nationals do have their own charm. But that being said, I think they need to add some incentive to make these players take part.”