It was not the way he would have liked to join the Indian team for the London Olympics. But still J. Vishnu Vardhan was on cloud nine when it was officially announced on Thursday by the AITA that he would be partnering Leander Paes in the men’s doubles in London.
“It has always been my dream to play in the Olympics. But, I never thought I would get this chance in this 2012 edition itself.
“And it is a great privilege to play with Leander, whom I had grown up watching from my childhood,” said the 24-year-old Davis Cupper.
It has been a remarkable success story of Vishnu, who trains under C.V. Nagaraj at the School of Power Tennis Academy (RRC Grounds, Secunderabad) since his childhood.
The academy was buzzing with activity for the last two days with the air of expectation that this ONGC employee would be included in the Indian team for the Olympics.
“Well, this is a dream come true for all of us at the Academy. There can no greater joy for any coach than to see one of his trainees becoming an Olympian,” said the soft-spoken Nagaraj. “It is a tribute to Vishnu’s commitment and dedication that he has come thus far. He always had the fighting ability and the willingness to keep improving.
“The fact that Vishnu decided to train in Visakhapatnam now because he did not have practice partners here (as many of the regulars are abroad), also shows his enthusiasm to stay fit and continue learning,” said Nagaraj, who has the rare distinction of producing three Davis Cuppers and four senior national champions from his academy.
For his part, Vishnu, who incidentally won the silver in mixed doubles partnering Sania Mirza in the 2010 Asian Games, is naturally excited about the “life-time opportunity” even while steering clear of the controversy that preceded his selection.
“I am ready for the challenge. I don’t want to talk big, but when given the chance I will not be found wanting in commitment and I will give more than 100 per cent,” Vishnu said.
“It will be one of my most memorable experiences to partner a great player like Leander,” said the young Hyderabad player who will be making his Olympics debut while his illustrious partner will be appearing in a record sixth edition. “I thank my parents, coach Nagaraj Sir and all my fellow players as I prepare for the Olympics,” said Vishnu whose all-time favourite is Pete Sampras.