Tennis

Will Somdev be seeded No. 1 in CWG?

Will Somdev Devvarman be seeded No. 1 in men's singles in the Commonwealth Games? That will be an interesting query, considering the country's No. 1 tennis player has been ranked at 113 in the latest list released by the ATP.

It was known that the world No. 4 Andy Murray of Scotland, would not make it for the Delhi Games. The 36th ranked Australian, Lleyton Hewitt's love for India is well known, particularly after the team's refusal to visit Chennai for the Davis Cup World Group play-off.

The 18th-ranked Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus will still be fancying his chances to make the season-ending World Tour finals in London, and thus may not be able to skip even a week's play from the professional circuit.Quite interestingly, there are no more Commonwealth players in the top 100, or till 112 in singles in the world list. That should give a fair chance for Devvarman to strike gold.

Incidentally, the Indian players have not yet given their consent for competing in the Commonwealth Games, though the government had offered to pay about Rs. one crore as part of the preparation programme for the last two years, for five elite players. The promised money has not been given to the All India Tennis Association (AITA) yet, for the national federation to disburse the payment to the individual players as was announced by the Union sports ministry.

It is another matter that Leander Paes and company would be keen to make the country proud in the Commonwealth Games, to make the event a grand success from the tennis point of view.

However, the conflict apart, the leading doubles players, Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, will all be trying to garner valuable points to stay in the race for the World Doubles to be staged in London in November. That would also mean that they all will miss the Asian Games in Guangzhou, owing to clash of dates!

At the moment, Paes, Bopanna and Bhupathi are placed at No. 3, 6 and 8 respectively in the team rankings with their partners — Lukas Dlouhy, Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and Max Mirnyi. Every week in the professional circuit counts for them, to remain in the top eight. Actually, all three would have to skip the $2.1 million ATP Tour event in Beijing that week to compete in the Commonwealth Games from October 4. They have the bigger $3.24 million event in Shanghai the following week.

It has been known that two of the best tennis nations in the region, Canada and South Africa, will not be fielding tennis players for the Games.

Players such as Daniel Nestor of Canada, ranked No.3 in doubles, the 20th ranked Weslie Moodie of South Africa, would understandably be keen to strengthen their chances to be in the race for the world championship. Of course, the Australians with Paul Hanley as the main doubles player at No.30 will be there, and so will be Jamie Murray of Scotland, a doubles specialist unlike his brother Andy Murray, with a career-best rank of 28.

There could be a clear domination of not just Paes and Bhupathi who will be No.1 seeds in men's doubles, but there could be a strong possibility of them being challenged in the final by Bopanna and Devvarman. That is, if the Pakistan player, Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, does not cause a dent in front of the Indian crowd in partnership with his Davis Cup teammate, Aqeel Khan.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 2:10:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/Will-Somdev-be-seeded-No.-1-in-CWG/article15949218.ece

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