The ongoing controversy in Indian tennis ahead of the Davis Cup tie against Korea has come as a blessing in disguise for the city boy Ashwin Vijayaraghavan. The 23-year-old youngster is one of the reserves for the Davis Cup match against South Korea, starting in New Delhi from February 1.

Ironically, he comes in the place of his senior and fellow Hyderabadi Jagadeesan Vishnuvardhan. “I look at it as a huge opportunity and a challenge. It is a shocker for me. But I am happy as it gives me a chance to prove my mettle,” says the former student of Gitanjali, Kennedy and Bhavan’s Sainikpuri schools. He completed his graduation in science in Texas University. He was coached by former national player Ilyas Ghouse and later on by Ganesh Raman. Ranked No. 730 in the world, Ashwin has never expected a Davis Cup berth.

“Honestly, I started competing in the circuit in all seriousness only last year. Once I entered the semi-finals of a couple of Futures tournaments, I got the confidence that I can go further,” says Ashwin.

Ashwin is looking forward to be in the squad led by Leander Paes. “It is an amazing feeling to play under a great player like Paes,” says Ashwin. His immediate target is to break into top 300 rankings.For someone who adores Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer, Ashwin is conscious of the fact that he has to score more winners to finish off matches.

His forehand is his asset. With physical trainer Sunil Dutt at the Lal Bahadur Stadium ensuring that he stays fit for the bigger battles ahead, Ashwin is confident that the Davis Cup selection should see a turnaround in his career. Interestingly, this young tennis star’s father, Vijay Raghavan (a chartered accountant like his wife Subhashini) is an Arjuna awardee in basketball.

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