Vishnu Vardhan and Sania Mirza: a silver based on belief

The pair won a silver at the 2010 Asian Games and Vardhan reveals how Sania picked him as a partner for the mixed doubles event.

Olympian Vishnu Vardhan enjoyed one of his memorable outings for the Indian tennis team at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

The then 23-year-old won bronze in the men’s team event but the second medal, a silver in the mixed doubles with Sania Mirza is what he cherishes even more.

The beginning of the partnership was fortuitous in itself as the Indian tennis queen came across Vishnu Vardhan when they were practicing together in Hyderabad in the lead-up to the Asian Games that year.

And it allowed Sania Mirza to observe him from close quarters.

“I was lucky that Sania chose to play with me in the mixed doubles. She had the belief that I had the ability to play in big matches as we practised together in Hyderabad,” Vishnu Vardhan explained in an interview with the Telangana Today newspaper.

Vishnu Vardhan won silver with Sania Mirza at the 2010 Asian Games. Photo: Vishnu Vardhan/Facebook
Vishnu Vardhan won silver with Sania Mirza at the 2010 Asian Games. Photo: Vishnu Vardhan/FacebookVishnu Vardhan won silver with Sania Mirza at the 2010 Asian Games. Photo: Vishnu Vardhan/Facebook

The belief that Sania Mirza had in him was justified as the Indian tennis pair had to battle hard, winning each of their matches in three sets en route the final at the 2010 Asian Games.

By the time they played Chinese Taipei’s Chan Yung-jan and Yang Tsung-hua in the final, the fatigue showed on Sania Mirza and Vishnu Vardhan as they played out another three-setter but ultimately fell short.

“She had the option to play with Somdev (Devvarman) and Karan Rastogi, who were ranked much higher than me. She took a big gamble and we reached the final. I owe my Asian Games silver to Sania,” added the Indian tennis player.

More importantly, it brought an upturn in fortunes for Vishnu Vardhan, as he made his Davis Cup debut for the Indian tennis team and rose to become India’s second-best player after Somdev Devvarman in the next two years.

And he was rewarded for his efforts at the London 2012 Olympics.

Playing with Leander Paes

In London, Vishnu Vardhan was chosen as the men’s doubles partner for Indian tennis legend, Leander Paes.

Vishnu Vardhan and Leander Paes at the 2012 Olympics. Photo: Vishnu Vardhan/Facebook
Vishnu Vardhan and Leander Paes at the 2012 Olympics. Photo: Vishnu Vardhan/FacebookVishnu Vardhan and Leander Paes at the 2012 Olympics. Photo: Vishnu Vardhan/Facebook

The Hyderabad native had grown up idolizing the Atlanta 1996 bronze medallist and his ranking as the second-best in Indian tennis allowed him to pair up with Leander Paes in what was the latter’s sixth Olympics.

“It gave me the opportunity to play with Leander as I was no. 2. It was a big revelation for me to play in that Olympics,” said Vishnu Vardhan.

The Indian tennis duo got off to a winning start against the Dutch pair of Robin Haase and Jean-Julien Rojer but bowed out after falling to France’s eventual silver medallists Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra.

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