CHENNAI: Tennis in Chennai has a rich history and the city continues to produce quality players, capable of making it to the international level. Dakshineshwar Suresh is another in the making. He is playing alongside Somdev Devvarman for Gujarat Panthers in the second edition of Tennis Premier League (TNPL).
Dakshineshwar picked up tennis after watching his father play at the club level. He opted for open schooling to have maximum focus on the game. His game involves big serves and a strong forehand. “Family support has been great and they have backed me in taking up tennis professionally,” said Suresh.
The Madurai-born player moved to Chennai at the age of 10 for better chances. He is currently under coach Rajeev Vijayakumar at Aspire Tennis Academy in IIT-Madras. Vijayakumar helped him transition from the junior to senior level. He acknowledges the influence of his second coach Rajeev Naidu in this also. He has been mentored by Devvarman for the past two years. “I trained with Somdev for two weeks and he was impressed with my game. Then he opted to mentor me,” said the right-hander.
The 19-year-old standing at six-foot-five won the U-18 Adidas Nationals 2017 in Chennai. “I feel that the tournament was a turning point for me,” he said. Representing the country is the top priority for Dakshineshwar. He describes representing India in the 2016 junior Davis Cup as a high point. He won the Fenesta Open U-16 tittle in 2016 in New Delhi. “Fenesta Open is the biggest tournament in India and it was a great experience for me.”
The Roger Federer fan is excited about his participation in TPL. “Playing with Somdev, Mahak Jain and Mikha Yadav will be a great experience.”
Dakshineshwar is dismayed that there were few international events in India during the past year. This scenario forces youngsters to travel abroad for exposure, incurring more expenditure. “There are many players without sponsors. If we get some, it will be helpful.”
Dakshineshwar played his first international tournament in 2016 and earned his first ATP point. He is yet to play an ITF tournament since then and hopes to break this duck in 2020. “I am hoping to finish in the top 500 in ATP rankings before the end of next year and finish in the top 50 in the year 2024,” says the India No 20.