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Not many Indian players have reached the highest level of world tennis since Ramanathan Krishnan made semi-final appearances at Wimbledon in 1960 and 1961. But there remains an air of expectation every June-July when this grand slam tournament takes place, reports K. Datta
EVER since Ghaus Mohammad Khan figured in the Wimbledon singles quarter-final in 1939, the tournament has occupied a special place in the hearts and minds of India’s sports fans. The attachment with this Mecca of tennis grew stronger when Ramanathan Krishnan sent a thrill of excitement through the nation with semi-final appearances in 1960 and 1961. That is the farthest an Indian has gone in the prestigious tournament.
Even if not many Indian players have reached the highest echelons of world tennis since then, there remains an air of expectation every June-July when this grand slam tournament is played on the lush grass courts of the old All- England Lawn Tennis Club.
India’s hopes in the singles events this time rested on Somdev Kishore Devvarman and Sania Mirza. When Devvarman, with a world ranking of 68 on the ATP computer, got past Dennis Gremelmayr in the first round, 6-4, 4-2, the German, conceding the match because of injury, it was the first time since 2001 that an Indian had advanced to the second round. Leander Paes was there a decade ago, when he lost to Nicolas Kiefer. It shows how tough the competition has become in tennis at the highest level. Well as Devvarman fought, the 26-year-old Tripura-born player based in the United States, was no match for Mikhail Youzhny, the 18th seeded `A0Russian, who won the second round match 6-2, 6-4, 6-4. At the time of writing this column, the 17th ranked 29-year-old Russian is due to meet world No. 3 Roger Federer for a place in the quarter-finals. In five grand slam tournaments, Devvarman has not been past the second round, and the disappointing sequence continued also at Wimbledon.
Sania came to Wimbledon after a hectic year of competitive tennis, including the Commonwealth Games at Delhi and the Asian Games at Guangzhou, during which she played over 150 matches, including doubles, to raise her world ranking to 60. Her injured knee strapped, Sania lacked the sharp touch, a result perhaps of too much work, to overcome Virginia Rozzano of France, ranked over 30 places lower.
Sania’s singles campaign was all over in 132 minutes, losing her first round match 6-7, 6-3, 3-6. It was her third round first round exit in seven Wimbledon appearances. She had progressed to the second round in the remaining four occasions.
Like a few other Indian players, Sania also has established herself as a doubles player. There is a future in doubles also. Sania and partner Russian Elena Vesnina, seeded fourth, are in the third round of the women’s doubles at the Sunday break after a hard fought second round victory over the Czech-Kazakh pair of Renata Voracoba and Galina Voskoboeva.
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathy, together a powerful force in the doubles and seeded third at Wimbledon, could go no further than the third round where they lost to Arnaud Clement (France) and Lukas Dlouhy of Czechoslovakia after promisingly winning the first set, 6-2, 3-6, 6-7, 4-6. It was good to see the estranged veteran pair had joined forces again at Wimbledon, those old chest bumps saying it all.
A victory would have been all the more sweet. But then winning and losing are part of life on the courts. And now a word about the Indo-Pak team of Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi. They, too, are a force in the doubles game, as the tournament committee must have acknowledged when it seeded them fourth. They had come to Wimbledon with high hopes, having won their second ATP title together, the Gerry Weber Open at Halle, Germany. They got a congratulatory message from Pakistan Prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani from Islamabad. But a shock awaited them in the very first round when they were beaten by the Colombian pair of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, 6-2, 2-6, 19-21. Anyone for some tennis diplomacy?
There is the larger
Wimbledon picture one can’t help seeing. The emotional return of
Serena, for one. The younger of the Williams sisters, a 13-time grand
slam champion, broke into tears at the joy of being able to play on the
hallowed Wimbledon courts after a year-long disability because of a foot
injury and a huge health scare caused by pulmonary embolism, which left
her on the death bed.
After winning the French Open earlier in the month, the Chinese icon Li Na had raised great expectations when she took the court at Wimbledon. Seeded third, she was shocked by the big-serving (120 mph) 5ft.10 inch German Sabine Lisicki, a wild card entry, 6-3, 4-6, 6-8, with Li wasting two match points in the third set. "She serves like a man," said Jiang Shan, Li’s husband and coach, adding, "I mean this is impossible for women." Back home, Li said she had done enough to inspire other Chinese girls. It was time the Chinese men made their presence felt. Li warned the growing number of fans against the danger of too much expectation. Li has not only done China proud but also the entire Asian continent.
A study has found that a high-fat diet can be bad for your health, but what is even worse is a snack-based cafeteria-style diet of highly palatable, energy-dense foods. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently found that rats that ate snack foods commonly consumed by children and adults, ate more, gained more weight, had more tissue inflammation and were intolerant to glucose and insulin (warning signs of diabetes) than rats whose diets were high fat from lard.
The study showed that the "cafeteria diet" (an experimental system for studying obesity, also known as CAF, that mimics buffet-style access to junk food such as cookies, chips and processed meats) contributed more to diet-induced obesity than common high-fat diets typically used in rodent studies.
The results suggest that researchers can get more accurate information from animal models that eat a diet that may resemble what humans consume.
Use of the CAF model also may be useful for identifying novel options for preventive interventions or therapeutics to treat obesity in humans, the study noted.
"Obesity has reached epidemic levels in the United States," Liza Makowski, Ph.D., assistant professor of nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and the study's senior author, said.
"These findings provide us with a better animal model to help explore what factors are contributing most to this dangerous trend, and what strategies for prevention and treatment of obesity will be most successful," she said.
IN times of hectic lifestyles and poor eating habits, it is essential to include ‘power foods’ in our diet that keep us energised and focussed. Frances Largeman-Roth, senior food and nutrition editor for Health magazine, shared the benefits of power foods on a recent TV show.
For those who feel tired and groggy throughout the day, Largeman-Roth recommended taking the required dose of iron from red meats, poultry, and fortified cereal, reports the CBS News.
She suggested that it’s important to avoid the consumption of ‘jittery’ foods such as caffeine and foods high in white flour (cookies, white bread), as these strip us of nutrients and fibre that normally keep your blood sugar stable.
Largeman-Roth warned that a big dose of these foods could cause blood sugar to soar, resulting in anxiety and sluggishness.
Substituting the jittery foods with brown rice, whole-grain bread and whole-grain pasta will do more gain than expected, she said.
Deficiency of brain-boosting nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin B-12 leads to forgetfulness and lack of attention. Lack of B-12 has also been linked with confusion, numbness, and fatigue.
Omega-3s are loaded with DHA, a type of fatty acid that makes neurons in the brain fire more effectively.
To beat all these brain-related problems, Largeman-Roth recommended including salmon (rich in omega-3) and eggs (high in Vitamin B-12) in the diet.
Even though veggies and legumes are good, certain ones like beans, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower can cause lots of gas and bloating.
Largeman-Roth explained that it might have something to do with their complex sugars being hard to digest. Furthermore, carbonated drinks can also increase bloating because these are bubbly and the artificial sweeteners can be hard for the body to break down.
She suggested halving the amount of bloat-boosting veggies for a week to see if that helps. However, she advised against cutting them out completely, because they still provide crucial nutrients.