Year in detail
The year 2013 did not begin well for our men. With the exception of a decent performance from Prakash Amritraj at the Chennai Open and the comeback of Somdev Devvarman, all the other players including our seasoned doubles campaigners failed to make their presence felt. Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna and Leander Paes had numerous problems starting with improper pairings. Yuki Bhambri stayed away from competition due to nagging injuries and Prakash Amritraj’s season was cut short by mid year due to injuries. Our only respite was seeing Somdev notching wins in the ATP circuit and playing enthralling matches against higher ranked opponents.
On the women’s side though, Sania Mirza started the year with a bang. She, along with Bethanie Mattek-Sands, won the Brisbane International Premier tournament in the very first week. Though they were inconsistent in winning, they won two titles and finished runners-up once. Mattek-Sands’ injuries and priority over singles saw their partnership break. In singles, Ankita Raina was hitting top form by bagging 3 titles and finishing runner-up another 3 times.
The second half was a very good period for our players. Rohan Bopanna found a good partner in Edouard Roger-Vasselin and they almost made it to the WTF. Leander Paes won the US Open at 40 and also qualified for the WTF.
Sania Mirza found a very good partner in Zheng Jie after a mediocre stint with Liezel Huber. They won a title and made it to the US Open semifinals.Later, in Cara Black, she found an even better partner. They won two titles at the end of the year have agreed to play together next year much to the respite of fans who were worried about Sania not partnering a regular doubles player like herself.
Yuki Bhambri also made a good comeback in this part of the season with a Challenger win and a runner-up finish. Ankita Raina promoted herself to the upper echelons of the ITF circuit but failed to make an impact. Both will be vying for the Australian Open 2014 wildcard at the Asia-Pacific AO wildcard playoffs.
It will be very interesting to see how the next season turns up with the Indo-Pak express reuniting and Sania-Cara continuing their partnership. Besides, India will also host a couple of challenger events for men. 2014 also sees the Asian Games taking place in which tennis is a sport while the CWG does not feature tennis this time. With Yuki Bhambri, Saketh Myneni, Divij Sharan, Ankita Raina and others constantly improving, 2014 will surely be the year to watch.