With increased prize money for the early rounds as against the 33% cut for the champions, it is the best time to play a Grand Slam for most tennis players.
Davis Cupper Saketh Myneni, who won the Asian Games mixed gold with Sania Mirza in Incheon 2014, last had played in the main draw of a Grand Slam in 2016.
His priority is to first return to the circuit.
“I wanted to play the Challengers, but it was tough to get in. So, I am looking at a bunch of ITF events, announced recently in India, as a starting point to return to the circuit,” said Saketh.
He admitted that the extended period of inaction had helped his body regain good health and get into tennis shape and he needed to be patient.
Protection to players
He will be watching the Australian Open on television and was all praise for the phenomenal care taken by Tennis Australia to keep improving and to give the players the best possible protection.
Looking forward to a new champion, like the way Dominic Thiem emerged at the US Open, Saketh said that Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were always hard to beat, and the younger guys needed to deliver on the big stage to get past them.
He was also keen to see Serena Williams win her elusive 24th Grand Slam singles title to match the Margaret Court’s record.
“You have to beat the best to win a Grand Slam. And Serena is always the player to beat,” said Saketh.
He hoped that Sumit Nagal would “go one better” after having won a round at the US Open last year, to give a boost for the sport in the country.
All the line calls at the Australian Open will be made electronically. Saketh said that it was tough for the line umpires.
Watch the Australian Open live on Sony Pictures Sports networks from Feb.8.
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