Arjun Kadhe, the sixth best Indian tennis player on the ATP computer at the moment, will make another attempt to become the champion in the Fenesta National tennis championship that begins at the DLTA Complex on Monday.
It should be an interesting start when the 24-year-old Arjun, ranked 348, and good enough to be drafted into the Davis Cup squad for the World Group play-off tie against Serbia recently, opens against the quality game of Kunal Anand.
Not just Arjun, but most of the seeded players may have a tough start. Second seed Manish Sureshkumar will be up against the national junior champion Sacchitt Sharma. Seventh seed Faisal Qamar will start against Ishaque Eqbal.
National champion VM Ranjeet may have it tricky against Prithvi Sekhar, who may not have the rank to boast, but had done a good job of representing the country with a bunch of wins last week in the Deaf tennis World championship in Turkey.
Former national champion Mohit Mayur and last year’s finalist Suraj Prabodh will have their first round against qualifiers.
Fifth seed Nitin Kumar Sinha will be up against Dhruv Sunish, while third seed Sidharth Rawat will be challenged by Kaza Vinayak Sharma.
Some of the regulars in the national and international circuit, either among the men or juniors, like Suresh Dhakshineswar, Siddhant Banthia, Parikshit Somani, Kunal Vazirani, BR Nikshep and Ansu Bhuyan confirmed their entry into the men’s main draw by perspiring their way through the qualifying event.
With the qualifying matches spilling late into the night, the organisers were yet to make the draws for the women and under-18 girls. As players like Ramya Natarajan and Humera Shaik could get the seeding if they qualified, the draws even without the qualifiers names could not be made by the referee Puneet Gupta.
While Zeel Desai and defending champion Mahak Jain spearhead the women’s field, it should be interesting to see whether Prerna Bhambri adds another crown to her string of four singles titles from the National championship that she had won from 2012 to 2015.
The presence of Sai Samhitha, Humera Shaik, Nirhya Raj, Mihika Yadav, Natasha Palha, Nidhi Chilumula and Sowjanya Bavisetti should make it lively in the women’s section.
In short, the DLTA Complex will once again wear its tennis atmosphere for a fortnight, with the under-16 and under-14 events scheduled to follow next week, as the venue has ceased to host international events which were a regular feature through the year in the past.
For the cream of the professionals travelling the world on a regular basis, spending a fortune mainly from the family funds, it would be a nice feeling to compete at home, for a change.
With its strong association and the commitment towards tennis from 1993, the DCM Shriram Group has done a phenomenal job to keep the national hard court championship alive. The fact that the National grass court championship springs to life once in a while, is ample testimony to the to the plight of Indian tennis.