Doubles the best chance for India
Chandigarh, August 16
India would be banking on the emerging players and a couple of veterans to keep up their good work in tennis at the Asian Games. India have a good record in tennis at the Asian Games, finishing in the top-3 four times in a row from 2002. Overall, India have won 29 medals in the Asian Games, 10 of them since 2010.It will be more difficult this time around — for one, there are fewer events this time, five instead of seven in the past. Then, the men’s India No. 1, Yuki Bhambri, has pulled out of the team as he wanted to focus on the US Open, which begins on August 27.It’s due to the US Open that India’s hopes at the Asian Games have become brighter — Japan’s Kei Nishikori and South Korea’s Hyeon Chung have also skipped the Asian Games to focus on the year’s last Major. Ramkumar Ramanathan (world No. 118) and Prajnesh Gunneswaran (world No. 161) are, thus, likely to be among the top four seeds in the Asian Games. In the women’s section, Ankita Raina (world No. 187) and Karman Kaur Thandi (world No. 197) would lead India’s challenge. Ankita has had a good year, winning two ITF titles and reaching the world top-200 for the first time. But the task of the women would be much tougher — China’s Shuai Zhang (world No. 32) and defending champion Qiang Wang (world No. 53) will be part of the field and expected to take top honours.India’s best hopes of a medal lie with the men’s doubles teams. Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan will be the top seeds. Leander Paes is expected to Sumit Nagal, though no final decision has been made yet.
India have been among the top nations in tennis at the Asian Games, mainly because of the exploits of the doubles teams. This time around, India would hope for a medal in men’s singles from Ramkumar Ramanathan.