Vishnu Vardhan is one of India’s most competitive tennis players and a very promising prospect in the country’s tennis fraternity.This 6’2″ 24-year-old from Andhra Pradesh won his first nationals men’s title in 2007, and he hasn’t looked back since. He was a member of the bronze medal-winning Indian men’s team at the 2010 Asian games in Guangzhou, China. He paired up with Sania Mirza in mixed doubles and won the silver medal. As he continues to chase his dream of playing in the Grand Slams and bringing laurels for India, he spoke exclusively with Sportskeeda correspondent Taruka Srivastav in an exclusive interview.
Q. You made it to the semi finals of the Fergana Challengers in the doubles.You must be happy with your performace?
Vardhan: It was a very good week. We defeated the 4th seeds in the quaters and lost a close match to the top seeds and the eventual winner of the tournament in the semifinals.
Q. Do you think it is possible for you and Yuki Bhambri to form a long-term doubles team?
Vardhan: Yuki and I are very compatible with each other, both on and off the court. He is one of my closest friends on tour and a really talented tennis player. The first time Yuki and I played doubles together we hit it off right away, and made the semifinals of the tournament.
Right now both Yuki and I are focusing on singles, which is our priority. But whenever possible we will definitely try to play doubles together.
Q. You have been more successful in doubles than in singles. Have you considered focusing on doubles like Bhupati and Paes?
Vardhan: I intend to focus on both singles and doubles, but right now singles is my priority. That said, it is true that I have had more success in the doubles, be it in the Asian games or on the Challenger circuit. So focusing on both and seeing how its goes sounds like a logical idea to me.
Q. You paired up with Sania Mirza in the Asian Games and won a silver medal. Any plans to play with her again in the near future?
Vardhan: I need to get my doubles ranking higher to partner Sania in the Grand Slams. Yeah, we had a very good run at the Asian Games. If I can get my doubles ranking high enough to play the Slams, then there is a possibility we could play together again.
Q. How was your experience of playing in the Davis Cup team?
Vardhan: Ever since I started playing tennis, competing in the Grand Slams and Davis Cup has always been the dream for me. And when I got the opportunity to play for India in the Davis Cup last September against Japan, being part of such an elite team was a dream come true for me. It was a truly memorable experience for me.
Throughout the year we tennis players play all by ourselves as it is an individual game, but Davis Cup is one tournament where, at least for a week, you play for your team. And the atmosphere during training and in the locker room is amazing.
Q. You are playing a lot of ATP tournaments.What ranking are you aiming to achieve by the end of the year?
Vardhan: My immediate goal is to get into the top 240 of the singles so as to get into the qualifying draws of the Grand Slams. If I can maintain consistency in my performances then I can see myself finishing the year in the top 200.
Q. Tennis is an expensive game and there is travelling involved throughout the year. Who are your sponsors?
Vardhan: Yes, it is true that tennis is a very expensive sport as you have to travel for around 25-30 weeks every year to compete in international tournaments. HEAD helps me out with my equipment and I am on the pay roll with ONGC, which takes care of all the tournaments in India. I am thankful for their support. Still, traveling abroad week in and week out is expensive and I am looking for some corporate sponsorship.
Q. What tournaments are lined up for you now?
Vardhan: I am going to participate in the ITF futures tournament in India after which I will take a small break for training, and then head for the ATP Challenger circuit in Asia.
Q. Will you be playing the qualifying rounds at the French Open this year?
Vardhan: Not this year but maybe next year I can make it.