ATP not ensuring a level-playing field for the Asian players, says Vishnu Vardhan

Despite the grim scenario, Vishnu makes it a point that he never misses a training session along with his doubles partner Saketh to stay focused on the game.

“We the Asian players will be the worst-hit because neither did were there any ATP events in the last two years in Asia nor are any planned in the near future while the players from Europe and the US are already playing tournaments there,” Vishnu (right) said.

At 34, Davis Cupper Vishnu Vardhan believes he still has it in him to make it big in doubles and not surprisingly is training really hard with another Hyderabadi and Davis Cupper Saketh Myneni. But, the six-foot, two-inch tennis player says that the ATP’s fresh guidelines deducting the ranking points from August 9 will deny them a huge advantage over players from Europe and the US.

“Definitely, the ATP is not ensuring a level-playing field for the Asian players,” he said. “We haven't played any ATP events since the pandemic broke out. And, deducting points for all the Asian players is a huge blow to our plans and aspirations,” Vishnu said in a chat with Sportstar.

The Asian Games silver medallist in mixed doubles with Sania Mirza cited his own example. “For instance, I was ranked World No.180 in doubles before the pandemic broke and not having played any tournaments since then I am now ranked No. 260,” he said. “Now, these ATP guidelines might well mean I will have to start from the scratch which can be an uphill task,” he said.

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“We the Asian players will be the worst-hit because neither did were there any ATP events in the last two years in Asia nor are any planned in the near future while the players from Europe and the US are already playing tournaments there,” Vishnu said.

“Clearly, ATP is neglecting the interests of Asian players which unfortunately has also resulted in quite a few very promising talent on the verge of making a mark at international level even quitting the sport,” Vishnu explained. “And worse, it has become too expensive for many of us to even play in Europe or the US.

A one-way ticket to the US now costs about Rs 1.20 lakhs, four times the normal cost. So, unless a player has a sponsorship taking care of his tour plans, it is almost impossible to play there to improve the rankings,” he said.

“Fortunately, I am grateful to my employer ONGC extending all support. Yet, it is difficult to plan any tournament schedule because of the costs,” he said.

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“And compounding our misery, we are not paid any of the cash incentives which were due to us, like after winning the SAF Games gold (he and Saketh Myneni were winners),” he said.

Despite this grim scenario, Vishnu makes it a point that he never misses a training session along with Saketh to stay focused on the game against all odds.

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