They are two of the best students of coach CV Nagraj, from the school of Power Tennis in Secunderabad. However, Davis Cuppers and multiple Asian Games medallists, Vishnu Vardhan and Saketh Myneni took different paths to further their careers, as they explained in a webinar to hundreds of coaches around the country on Friday.
While Vishnu stayed at home and pursued his tennis, Myneni went for collegiate tennis in America, which prepared him well for the life ahead, as he was out of the comfort zone, doing everything himself.
‘’I didn’t give up education because education does teach you a lot of things’’, Saketh said.
Both serve big, a speciality of the trainees of Nagraj, but with different styles.
Vishnu recalled how he hit a different level with his game, once he was chosen to partner Leander Paes for the London Olympics in 2012.
‘’Dr. Vece Paes, Leander’s dad, made a three-month training plan for me, which included a stint in the US. I became really sharp when I reached Wimbledon for Olympics. Leander helped me get the best out of myself and taught me how to deal with pressure’’, said Vishnu.
The 33-year-old was grateful that Leander wiped out his guilt, when he caused Leander’s serve to be broken with mistakes, for a healthy revival and a first round win in the Olympics.
While Vishnu won the silver medal with Sania Mirza in the mixed doubles of Asian Games in 2010, Saketh won the gold with Sania in 2014.
"I was intense playing with Sania. Saket was relaxed. You have to follow what works for you’’, said Vishnu.
‘’Every personality is different. Some are vocal, and some silent. There are no rights and wrongs. You decide what works for you’’, said Myneni.
Quite a crafty player, with an all-court game, the 32-year-old did concede that he could have benefited by focusing on physical fitness at an early age.
‘’I was growing tall and was injury prone. With the height, the mechanics of strokes also change’’, he recalled.
The transition from juniors to the big league was tough for Vishnu.
‘’At around 16 or so, I started focusing on men’s tournaments. For the first couple of years, it was depressing, as I was losing a lot. It certainly helped me develop’’, said Vishnu, who stressed that his parents were not much concerned about his tennis, but were ‘’happy that he was hitting a ball and stayed healthy’’.
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