My aim is to get into Top 50: Prajnesh

Chennai: Prajnesh Gunneswaran, India’s top-ranked Tennis player, with a world ranking of 107, feels that 2018 has been his best year and looks on to improve his ranking in 2019.

The Chennai lad has won two challenger titles in China and Bengaluru this year and clinched the bronze at the Asian Games. Speaking on the sidelines of an event organised by the Tamilnadu Table Tennis Association, Parjnesh said, “As long as I am inside the top 100, I have done a decent job, but the aim would be to get into the top fifty next year.”

To achieve that he asserted that he has to pick and choose between challenger and tour events. “I am still on the borderline and I would not get main draws with this rankings so I need to be at least within the 90s to get the main draw. So for that, initially I can play some Challengers and if that improves the ranking, then depending on that I will take a call as to whether I want to play more tour events or Challengers.”

He said that he has been working more on his fitness. “I have been doing more work than I used to, because I need to start preparing to be able to play five sets as that could be a possibility pretty soon.”

India is set to play in the qualifiers of the Davis Cup against Italy in Kolkata on February and asked whether he feels more responsible, being the number one Indian, he said  “I am not going to think about it because at the end of the day It doesn’t matter if you are the number one or number two in the country. All that matters is doing what is required on the day to fight and win.”

“Italy is a very strong team. We don’t have an easy task in front of us. We have a small advantage of playing on grass,” he added.

Before the Davis Cup, the 29-year old is set to compete in the Tata Open Maharashtra in January that replaced the Chennai Open. Asked if he misses the Chennai Open, he said: “I am happy that its still in India and I hope I will have a good crowd supporting me in Pune but nothing would have been able to beat having it in Chennai.”

Celebrating TN Tennis

The Tamilnadu Table Tennis Association (TNTA) under its new president Vijay Amritraj organised an event that honoured past, present and future tennis stars from the state on Sunday, here. The event saw three generation of Tennis players coming together.

Vijay Amritraj acknowledged the contributions made by the former presidents of the TNTA, N Shankar, N Murali, N Kumar, V Narayanan and MA Alagappan and presented them momentos.

Vijay then felicitated the upcoming talents, Kundana Sri, VM Sandeep, Dakhsineshwar, Manish Sureshkumar, who has won tournaments in the Under-16 catregory along with physically challenged players Prithvi Sekhar, D Mariyappan, S Balachandar and Joshua Andrew Anburaj. Current crop of players – Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Sai Samhitha Samarthi and Sneha Devi Reddy were also honoured.

Vijay then acknowledged the contribution made by past players that included Ramesh Krishnan, Anand Amritaraj, S Vasudevan and the legendary Ramanathan Krishnan and felicitated them along with other former players that include Prakash Amritaraj, Somdev Devvarman, Lakshmi Mahadevan, Amreetha Balachandran, Nirupama Sanjeev, Rushmi Chakravarthy and Sai Jailakshmy.

Aaditya Anand M