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From French toast to French tennis

G. Viswanath

Mumbai: The Cricket Club of India (CCI) will add a new item to its menu for a week starting Monday.

Relishing French toast, that’s a 365-day dish for breakfast, may have become a habit for its members, but those who frequent the South Mumbai Club for the love of sport will be treated to French tennis, thanks to the Kingfisher Airlines Mumbai Open 2007 that will take the centrestage at its tennis courts behind the East Stand of the Brabourne Stadium. There are six French players — Richard Gasquet, Paul-Henri Mathieu, Fabrice Santoro, Julien Benneteau, Roger-Vasselin Edouard and Nicolas Devilder, all ranked from 14 to 117 in the ATP list — in the main draw of 32.

So there’s every chance of a Frenchman walking away with the prize of $65,850 next Sunday, should he manage to put it across Australian Lleyton Hewitt.

Interesting contests

Mumbai’s tennis buffs and the media have been witness to many interesting contests in the Satellite, Future and Challenger events at the MSLTA facility at Cooperage and at Rama Rao’s Practennis Academy in Andheri.

One among the first foreigner to make an impression and attract the crowd at the MSLTA was the tall Jean-Philippe Fleurian, a Frenchman who made it to make Bombay a port of call and earn points at the Satellite tournaments.

The Indians then in the fray were Leander Paes, Zeeshan Ali, Srinivasan Vasudevan, Asif Ismail, Mark Ferreira and K.G. Ramesh. Fleurian reached a career-high of 37 on the ATP World rankings. Subsequently, Tim Henman was a part of the Great Britain’s squad along with Barry Cowan and Andrew Foster for a couple of Challenger events. Last year, Mahesh Bhupathi of Globosport and Kingfisher’s Vijay Mallya promised to bring the best to Mumbai.

Russian Dmitry Tursunov became the first winner of the Kingfisher Open prevailing over Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(5) in a rain-marred final. Tursunov is absent from the draw and hence this year’s title could go to any of the European journeymen.

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