India Insight

Tendulkar exits, Anand slips during emotional 2013

Sachin Tendulkar bid a teary-eyed farewell to cricket while contemporary Viswanathan Anand lost his world chess crown in an emotional year for Indians in sports.

Forty-year-old Tendulkar, statistically the greatest batsman ever, walked into the sunset in November after his 200th test at his home Wankhede Stadium brought the cricket-crazy nation to a standstill.

“My life’s been 22 yards for 24 years. It’s hard to believe that wonderful journey is coming to an end,” an emotional Tendulkar said during a moving farewell speech as most Indians on and off the ground battled to hold back tears.

His phenomenal success on the cricket field and impeccable lifestyle off it made him a perfect role model for India’s burgeoning youth population.

It was hardly a surprise that hours after he quit cricket, the batting great became the first sportsperson to be nominated for India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.

The Indian Express chugs in again

It was a victory long overdue and the reunion was perhaps destined to happen in no other tournament but the Chennai Open.

As India’s star tennis pair — Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes — clinched their fifth Chennai Open doubles crown in 2011, there was more than one reason to celebrate.

File photo of Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes celebrating victory after their match against Zimbabwes Black and Ullyett at the Athens 2004 Olympic. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/FilesThe victory came nine long years after their last triumph at Chennai. Their last ATP title win together was at the 2004 Toronto Masters.

Martina Navratilova — the India connection

Tennis great Martina Navratilova has been diagnosed with breast cancer. The 53-year-old is expected to begin six weeks of radiation therapy in May following minor invasive surgery.

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova poses for a portrait in New York April 7, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas JacksonDespite her impressive tennis stats — 18 Grand Slam singles titles including nine wins at Wimbledon — fans in India would perhaps treasure the Czech-born Navratilova’s mixed doubles partnership with India’s Leander Paes.

In 2003, they teamed up to win the Australian Open and Wimbledon — making Navratilova, then 46, the oldest Grand Slam champion ever.

Indian tennis — flash in the pan or pointer to future?

Indian tennis is enjoying a wonderful run with three strong performances underlining the quality of their young players.
 
First it was the refreshingly energetic Somdev Devvarman who raced to the final of the Chennai Open, raising big hopes for India with their stalwarts Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes into their mid 30s.
 
Then 16-year-old Yuki Bhambri belied his lean frame but underlined his top ranking to claim the Australian Open boys’ singles title.

The Delhi boy is aiming to move on to the men’s circuit at the earliest, showing the understanding that the professional tour is where one needs to establish oneself.
 
Sania Mirza then claimed her first senior grand slam title, winning the mixed doubles with Mahesh Bhupathi, which gave him his 11th grand slam title win.
 
For Mirza, the title will be really sweet, coming as she is after a frustrating period due to a wrist injury.
 
The performances by the trio shows the potential Indian tennis has as it looks into the future.
 
But is India capable of building a strong line-up and then a steady stream of players who can back up the main national stars?

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