Vishnu Vardhan had a wonderful 2012 where he won his first ITF futures title outside India in Uzbekistan,achieved his career-best ranking of 262,paired with Leander Paes in the London Olympics and then played a stellar role in India’s 5-0 victory over New Zealand in the Davis Cup tie held in Chandigarh. Due to his versatility,his ability to play matches for longer duration and all-round ability made him one of the standout performers for India. Then,a knee injury forced him out of action and as a result,he slipped in rankings. He has taken part in only a couple of tournaments in 2013 and he also missed the Davis Cup tie against Indonesia. Speaking to Sportline,the 25-year-old talks about his comeback tournament after injury,on his success and achievements in 2012,on being a versatile player,the importance of maintaining rankings,missing out of Davis Cup tie against Indonesia and how he plans to make 2013 another successful year.
You last played in Chandigarh in the Davis Cup tie against New Zealand. What memories do you have from here?
The last time I remember is winning the Davis Cup tie against New Zealand. When I entered the CLTA Stadium,the first memory that flashed into my mind was that victory. It was a great week and as a player,I could help the team win the tie. Coming back from injury and playing in a place where I have won lots of titles,is very satisfying. It is great to start from here.
What was the injury and where did you pick it?
The injury happened over a period of time last year. There were too many tournaments and I did not care to give enough time to rest and for the recovery of my body. During October-November,I developed this knee pain. It was not a pain where I had to take complete rest; it was more of a niggle. I took some time off to recover from this. Right now,I am pain-free but yet to return to 100 percent in terms of match fitness. Because of the pain,I missed a lot of tournament. I took some time off,played the Chennai Open,and then the Maharashtra Tennis League (MTL). Then,I again took a break and played the Tiruchi futures tournament. I was not in pain but I just wanted to see how I am feeling. I again took four weeks off and now I am starting from Chandigarh.
2012 was a good year for you. You won a couple of ITF titles,you helped India win the Davis Cup tie against New Zealand and moreover you took part in the London Olympics. How would you rate the year in terms of personal satisfaction and achievements?
It was a great year though it did not start on a great note. However,it was superb after summer. I won back-to-back futures titles in India and actually I won my first ITF futures title abroad in 2012 (Uzbekistan F2 Futures at Andijan in Uzbekistan in April). Then,Olympics happened to me,which I was not expecting. And I learnt so much from the Olympics. I used that experience to win both the singles and doubles rubbers in the Davis Cup tie. So,it was a great year. I also reached my career high ranking of 262 in singles.
You had reached career high ranking of 262 but after injury it has now slipped to 346. How important is it to maintain rankings?
It is very important specially in terms of Davis Cup and other big tournaments where rankings play a major role. But then right from the beginning,I have never chased rankings. I believe that if you have the game and you play a couple of good tournaments,then your rankings will improve. Somdev inspired me a lot. He had slipped in rankings but later made a good comeback and is now once again Indias No 1. It really made me believe that if you have the game then rankings will improve itself.
Vishnu,you are a very versatile player as you can play both singles and doubles,but what do you prefer- playing singles or doubles?
As of now,I am giving more importance to singles because singles career is shorter than the doubles. Leander,Mahesh and Rohan blossomed in the later stages of their careers. So,I think I can give more time to singles but then playing doubles comes very naturally to me. There is not much of a difference and you don’t have to make adjustments for playing doubles. I keep playing doubles also and give equal importance to both singles and doubles.
Were you disappointed on missing the Davis Cup tie against Indonesia specially after playing a stellar role in India’s 5-0 demolition of New Zealand in Chandigarh?
I am very disappointed as I could not play the Davis Cup tie,and also for not being available for selection. At the same time I am happy that the other players got the opportunity to play alongside Leander. Having him in the same team makes a lot of difference. It is great that we have a young team,I am very supportive of them and they are also very supportive to me. We all want to help each other grow as players. The atmosphere in the dressing room is great.
In the coming time there are a couple of big tournaments like the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games? So how do you intend to prepare for it? What goals have you set for yourself?
Very simple: try to improve the rankings,so that you can catch the attention of the selectors. Also,not playing too many tournaments have a negative effect as the selectors start doubting your ability and lose faith in you. Having a couple of good wins can change that. I have played the Asian Games in the past and also won medal. I will be really excited if I become a part of the team again. After Chandigarh,I will be playing in two ATP Challengers in Uzbekistan. So,that makes it three tournaments in a row. After that I will reassess my physical conditions. I have planned for about two and a half months of training at the end of May in Germany. I will also take part in few tournament there.