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Tuesday, Oct 26th

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Player Interviews

Stanislas Wawrinka confident of defending Chennai Open title this January

stanislas_wawrinka_1Defending Champion, Stanislas Wawrinka, will open his campaign for the new season at the Chennai Open for the third year in a row. The Swiss, currently ranked No. 17 in the ATP Tour rankings had a perfect start to the season in 2011 when he lifted his first hard court title by defeating Xavier Malisse in three sets in the Final at the SDAT stadium here in Chennai. That title triumph helped Wawrinka break back into the top 20 of the ATP rankings.

The Swiss continued his fine run by reaching the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 at Indian Wells, the semifinals at the Swiss Indoors Basel, and the 4th round at the Roland Garros. Ironically, he lost to his compatriot Roger Federer on each of those occasions. Later this year, Wawrinka joined hands with Federer helping Switzerland to a 3-2 win over Australia in the Davis Cup World Group play-off in September.


Exclusive Interview with Somdev Devvarman in the run up to the Chennai Open

somdev_devvarman1Somdev Kishore Devvarman, India's leading singles tennis player, will kick off the new season at the Chennai Open 2012 starting 2nd January. India's highest ranked singles player has had a very impressive 2011 as reflected in the steady climb in his ATP ranking. Somdev broke into the top 100 again in February this year and reached a career best ranking of 62 in July before finishing the year at the rank of 84. His notable performances in 2011 include reaching the finals of the South African Tennis Open 2011, the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open (ATP Masters 1000 event) and the quarterfinals at the Atlanta Tennis Championships. Somdev proved his mettle by defeating quite a few top ranked players this year including World no.9 Janko Tipsarevic, Marcos Baghdatis, Xavier Malisse, Milos Raonic, and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez among others.

In 2010, the India No.1 won the Gold medal in the men's singles event of the CommonWealth Games in New Delhi and the Men's singles and doubles Gold medal at the 2010 Asian Games at Guangzhou, China. Recognizing his contribution to the Indian Tennis, the Government of India in 2011 awarded him the prestigious Arjuna Award.


Exclusive Interview with Cara Black at Eastbourne

cara_black.jpgCara Black has been one of this decade's topmost exponents of the doubles game. She has w on 63 titles over her career and 9 slams in women's & mixed doubles. Amazingly she has completed the career mixed doubles Slam and is one French Open away from achieving the same in the women's doubles. Indian tennis fans would recognise the name since she has been a regular partner with Leander Paes over the last few years. Cara hails from Harare, Zimbabwe and the Black family's competence in doubles is well known as her brothers - Wayne & Byron were regulars on the men's doubles circuit through the 90's and up to mid 2000's.

She is currently defending her title in Birmingham and I caught up with her after her semi-final win, to speak to her about the match, her career, the shape the game's taken over the year's she's been part of it and of course about what it is like to play with Leander Paes. Cara graciously agreed to the interview and responded wonderfully to everything we threw at her.


Exclusive Interview with Leander Paes at the French Open

leander_paes1.jpgLeander Paes has been the flag bearer of Indian tennis for close to two decades now and is currently at Roland Garros looking to defend his French Open Men's Doubles crown, that he won with Lukas Dlouhy of the Czech Republic. The pair played their first round match yesterday (read about it here) and after that Leander had an exclusive chat with about the match that just took place.

Despite the rather long rain delays and the further postponement of his Mixed Doubles tournament opener, Leander was happy to share his time dissecting how the match wore on.


Exclusive Interview with the First Lady of Indian tennis: Sania Mirza

I had the privilege to interview the leading lady of Indian tennis Sania Mirza at the Australian Open today, and we chatted about her match today, her new doubles partner, her disappointment at being unable to defend her mixed doubles title, what she does to kill time at the Grand Slams, her favourite players and of course her impending nuptials. Here are some of the things she candidly shared...

About the Women's Doubles

sania_mirza_7.jpgAsked how she sees the doubles progressing and if she and Virginia were forming a good rapport, Sania replied having won two matches in the Slam, things were going well and as a pair they were getting better with every match. Since this was just their third tournament together, it took a little getting used to playing with a new partner, especially considering that she usually plays on the forehand side of the court, but with Virginia she had to play the ad court which took her sometime to get adjusted to.


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