Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

All posts regarding past greats should be made under this heading.

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VReddy
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Re: Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Post by VReddy » Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:43 pm

punarayan wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:21 pm
Vreddy, Thanks for a great interview - loved it. Thrilled you asked her about her writing the next Great American Novel, which I talked to her about at the USO.
Yes! She did remember that! I didn't ask her more as I had asked for 30 mins but had already taken up 45 mins by then :(

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Re: Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Post by VReddy » Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:44 pm

S_K_S wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:25 pm
Thanks for the interview. I have to be honest and say I didn't know about her so a really interesting read. I wonder if things would have been different if her dad had accepted the Bollettieri academy offer.
True. Or even during the Pete Fischer stage where he had high regard for her.

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Re: Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Post by Varma » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:31 pm

I loved how philosophical she sounded even after realizing that she missed out on being a tennis great. I didn't sense an ounce of bitterness when she said things like, "I wish things were a bit more structured"...or, "I wish my parents had better exposure and long-term vision" (on not listening to the idea of switching to one-handed backhand). She really embraced life and is clearly celebrating it. Now I like her even more than before!

Very personable posts like this is what makes this forum addictive. Thank you so much for all the pain, Vishnu. I look forward to many more of these in future! No pressure, though :)

- Varma

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Re: Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Post by PKBasu » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:42 am

Wonderfully insightful interview, Vishnu (VReddy). I didn't realise that she basically depended just on her parents' encouragement (and funding), and practising with her elder brother to make it as a tennis pro! No formal coaching, no real structure, all pure talent!
She had told me that it all happened too quickly, but Vishnu was able to draw out what that really meant. After making R2 of the US Open at the age of 15 (an unimaginably amazing achievement) and having beaten Monica Seles in the junior Orange Bowl final a few months earlier, Laxmi made the decision to go to Stanford -- hoping both to play tennis and pursue a solid degree. But the pressures of the latter affected her tennis in the first year at college (causing depression, which probably needed to have been addressed proactively). It is very difficult for a front-runner who is winning everything -- and has played in the US Open main draw (implying that she is expected to beat nearly everyone in college tennis) -- to suddenly find herself losing a lot of matches to mere college players. Like all good Indian students, she prioritized her studies at one of the world's great universities, and so didn't really capitalise on her spectacular tennis talent.
She clearly has no regrets, only happy memories of playing with the likes of Jennifer Capriati and Andre Agassi (among the talented teenagers from California during her time). The amazing talent she had is worth celebrating, and hopefully her daughter will inherit her sporting genes and become a star in some sport: we can be sure that Laxmi will know how to maximise her talent if she shows enough of it. Her advice not to specialise in one thing too much is perhaps pertinent for kids until about 12 -- after which one does need to specialise to make it as a pro (in my opinion). Jaideep Mukerjea and Anand Amritraj were among our tennis players who were multi-talented in sports -- and Chuni Goswami and Nandu Natekar played tennis as a second or third sport (Nandu famously losing the junior national tennis final to Krish Sr), while Chuni's second sport (after football, where he won an Asiad gold among others) was cricket (99 and several wickets in a Ranji final) while he was a national quality tennis player too. But that is rarer in today's world, where specialisation is required earlier.

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Re: Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Post by gbelday » Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:58 pm

Thanks Vishnu for such an in-depth interview. You did an amazing job! Thanks for getting my question in! I can't believe she got to play at that level with the coaching that she had (or not). Just makes me wonder how many of our talented boys and girls don't get to rise up because of the lack of proper coaching and structure.

Btw, you should write a book too :).

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Re: Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Post by gbelday » Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:59 pm

PKB, keep your gems coming! I learn something new every time you post!!

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Re: Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Post by prasen9 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:49 am

PKBasu wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:42 am
Laxmi made the decision to go to Stanford -- hoping both to play tennis and pursue a solid degree. But the pressures of the latter affected her tennis in the first year at college (causing depression, which probably needed to have been addressed proactively). It is very difficult for a front-runner who is winning everything -- and has played in the US Open main draw (implying that she is expected to beat nearly everyone in college tennis) -- to suddenly find herself losing a lot of matches to mere college players. Like all good Indian students, she prioritized her studies at one of the world's great universities, and so didn't really capitalise on her spectacular tennis talent.
This is a mistake imho. I know a bit about that college and generally about US colleges. There is no way to do these together. I guess you can be in the tennis team and improve your skills and bide your time. Then, after graduating you have to make the big jump. My advice to someone I know in a different sport is to take a year off say between high school and college or even between years in college if your parents or you can afford it. Train and play with full focus and see how far you can go. The university will always be there and if you are smart enough to get into a good college, you will be able to do well after a year or even after a decade when you are done with your professional career.

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Re: Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Post by jayakris » Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:18 pm

prasen9 wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:49 am
This is a mistake imho. I know a bit about that college and generally about US colleges. There is no way to do these together.
True, but I guess there are exceptions. Harsh Mankad did manage to get a 3.50 GPA and be in the academic honors list for Economics, even when he was becoming the #1 college player. He was a pretty organized guy with a good brain, I guess... Not the norm, and very tough to do.

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Re: Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Post by Varma » Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:20 pm

I think Somdev & Sanam did pretty well in academics, too. Not just getting a mere degree.

- Varma

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