Showing promise

Fine prospect... Sanam Singh (right) with Somdev Devvarman during the Chennai Open. The duo won the doubles gold at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou.-R. RAGU Fine prospect... Sanam Singh (right) with Somdev Devvarman during the Chennai Open. The duo won the doubles gold at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou.

With three successive ITF titles under his belt, Sanam Singh has justified his inclusion in the Indian Davis Cup team. By J. R. Shridharan.

Sanam Singh is on a roll. The 24-year-old player from Chandigarh has had a brilliant run, winning three successive International Tennis Federation Futures singles titles on different surfaces. He has also earned a berth in the Indian Davis Cup team to play against Uzbekistan in Namangan (April 6-8).

Sanam's dream run began in Chandigarh where he defeated N. Sriram Balaji (7-5, 6-1) to win his first Futures title. He then defeated Japan's Shuchi Sekiguchi (6-1, 6-4) in the final in Bhopal before bouncing back brilliantly from the brink of defeat to oust National champion Sekath Myneni (6-4, 4-6, 7-5) in Bhimavaram (Andhra Pradesh) to complete his hat-trick of ITF wins. In the process, he also justified his inclusion in the Indian Davis Cup team.

Sanam has so far won six ITF titles, including four singles crowns. “I am enjoying the run, and it is dream come true for me to enter the Davis Cup team. I would like to give my hundred percent for the team,” he told Sportstar on the sidelines of the ITF Futures tournament at the Cosmopolitan Club in Bhimavaram.

“It is not going to be easy playing Uzbekistan on its home turf with a talented player like Davis Istomin in its ranks,” Sanam added.

Sanam, who won the double gold medal in the company of Somdev Devvarman at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, was of the view that more than winning titles it was important to be fit and stay healthy in the professional circuit. “A lot depends upon on your fitness. I want to stay fit, healthy and try to avoid injuries. As we (pros) move on, playing on different surfaces in different weather conditions, we need to focus on health aspects,” he said.

According to Sanam, while Chandigarh was cool, the weather in Bhopal was hot and Bhimavaram, a coastal town of Andhra Pradesh, was the hottest. “The speed also varied on the three surfaces. While the ball moved swiftly in Chandigarh and Bhopal, it was a bit slow in Bhimavaram,” Sanam said.

For the diminutive player, ranked No. 776 in the world, the biggest disadvantage is his height. But Sanam is making up for it with his swift movements on the court. “I need to be quick and move around with greater anticipation. For which I need to possess strong legs. I am also improving on my first serve,” he said.

Sanam, who turned professional in August last year, had a four-year-stint at the University of Virginia where he trained under coach Brain Boland. “I played on all surfaces. I am comfortable playing on hard court as I played more on it,” said the emerging star of the India tennis.

“I am moving around the circuit alone and I do not have a travelling coach. I am constantly in touch with my coaches and friends who assess my performances and also help me correct my mistakes,” signed off Sanam.