YOUNG LIKE US Having won both the singles and doubles titles at the TNTA-SAIL ITF, Saketh Myneni is now hoping for a spot in the 2012 Chennai Open. K. KEERTHIVASAN
His American accent might take you by surprise. What has been even more surprising is the 24-year-old’s attitude to life and sports. Certainly, the four years spent at the Alabama University in the United States of America, has not just altered his style of speaking, but his overall approach to tennis in particular. “It was a revelation for me,” said Saketh on his experience in USA. “You have to do well in academics and sports. There is no way you can escape one of the two. It made me tough.”Given a wild card in the TNTA-SAIL ITF Futures men’s tournament at the SDAT-Nungambakkam Stadium in Chennai recently, the Indian made good use of the opportunity by winning both the singles and doubles titles.
Saketh enjoys a special bond with Chennai. It was here in the year 2005 that he won the under-18 title of the MCC-adidas National junior championship. So coming back to the city after six long years must have brought back a lot of memories. “No doubt, it’s been special. Meeting old friends, sharing jokes. It’s been fun,” he says.Saketh’s strength has been his huge serves and effective volleys. Here at the ITF event, Saketh showed that he can play hard from the baseline, too. The final against Great Britain’s James Marsalek was a case in point. “He deserves to win,” said former Davis Cup player and captain of Great Britain Paul Hutchins. Though he didn’t do exceptionally well in the famous NCAA circuit, the experience, he says, helped him to a great extent.
Saketh believes there is lot of scope to improve and the ITF tournaments in Pune, Delhi, Chandigarh and Delhi will get him more ATP points.Saketh likes to have fun off the court. Prior to the ITF event, Saketh and his doubles partner Mohit Mayur went around the city in pouring rain visiting several eating joints. He even visited his good friend and tennis player Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan’s house and enjoyed good food. Saketh started playing tennis at Visakhapatnam when he was 11 years old. Three years later, he took part in competitive tournaments. He didn’t stay long in India, for less than a year of bagging the National junior title, he shifted base to USA. On his return this year, he won an All-India tournament in Bangalore in September. Saketh is eyeing the 2012 Chennai Open. “I would love to play here. If I do well in the Futures events, I could get a wild card. Let’s see.” Very few expected Saketh to win the Chennai ITF event. There is every possibility that he could surprise all of us by being there at the Chennai Open, an event he has grown up on.
- Saketh was born in Vijayawada, raised in Visakhapatnam
- Started playing tennis at 11 years
- Plays cricket and basketball
- Loves Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Kobe Bryant
- Likes to listen to music, Western and Indian
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