With Tokyo dreams over, Vishnu Vardhan eyes 2022 Asiad medal

Updated: 16 December, 2019 07:58 IST | Sundari Iyer | Mumbai

Well aware that his dream of playing in another Olympics (having played the 2012 London Games) is virtually impossible since he feels he has only. a few years left in him.

Vishnu Vardhan
Vishnu Vardhan

Four-time national tennis champion Vishnu Vardhan is disheartened with the way his career graph has panned out. Well aware that his dream of playing in another Olympics (having played the 2012 London Games) is virtually impossible since he feels he has only. a few years left in him. Vardhan, 32, harbours hopes of winning a medal at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

"I am absolutely disappointed about not being a part of the Tokyo Olympics. And now, I am so far from that [dream]. If things had been better after my comeback [post an injury break] in 2016, I would surely be aiming to play in Tokyo. But there is a very good chance of me playing the next Asian Games and become a medallist. My goal is to get back into the Top 100 of ATP rankings and play Grand Slams.

"The Telengana government stopped sponsoring me since a year and a half. That has affected my career since I'm not among the best players of the country to be a part of TOPS [only the top two or three players benefit from the Target Olympic Podium Scheme]. The government shower crazy money only after you win an Asian Games or Olympic medal," Vardhan, who is part of the Bengaluru Spartans franchise of the Kotak Mahindra Bank Tennis Premier League, told mid-day.

"It's not like I am in my 20s and still have time to think of the next Olympics [2024]. I am not Leander [Paes] to be able to keep playing way beyond my 40s. Of course, I am taking care of my fitness, but what he is doing is incredible. I can't expect myself to do it or plan that I am going to keep playing till 47, so I am really disheartened the way it [career] has turned out for me," he added.

Meanwhile, Vardhan, whose current doubles ranking is 203, said that partnering Paes at the Olympics, where the duo lost to French pair of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 3-6, was a blessing for him. "He [Leander] is such an inspiring person. His influence in my life started when I was seven. Just one year after that, Leander won bronze at the Olympics [Atlanta 1996]. But the first time I met him was in 2009 after I won the nationals. I was one of the reserve players in the Davis Cup team.

He gave me a couple of pointers and those helped me get into the Top 500 in a year. Then, I got a chance to play with Leander at the 2012 Olympics. It was an absolute dream-come-true moment for me. The main thing I learnt partnering him was nothing about tennis. I learnt so much on how to handle pressure, how to manage yourself and bring the best out of you when required. Those things only a champion can teach you," he said.

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First Published: 16 December, 2019 07:18 IST

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