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Crank’s Corner

Love-all & Amala Paul

This week, Crank’s Corner will reveal the details of the hot new lover boy in the life of Nayantara.

Thanks for coming to the second paragraph, which you would not have if we had straightaway confessed that this week we were actually going to write about the likes of Rainer Schuettler, Alex Corretja, Feliciano Lopez, Jelena Jankovic, Martina Hingis, Fernando Verdasco who, among others, were seen in action at the Champions Tennis League (CTL) this week at the capacious SDATN Tennis Stadium, Nungambakkam.

Crank’s Corner was at the stadium, holding on to a strategic courtside seat in a bid to report to you what transpired over the two days and also because the event featured women players in extremely short skirts.

The Champions Tennis League, launched and promoted by India’s tennis icon Vijay Amritraj, is widely seen as a great global platform for plenty of promising players who have long retired from the circuit. To be fair, it also gives a good chance for up and coming young players in the country to stand shoulder to shoulder with better known tennis stars when they are interviewed at the stadium.

The CTL, launched last year, features six teams, all franchise of different Indian cities, and pits them against each other in a compressed but competitive format that allows for plenty of ads to be played on TV in between.

Keeping in mind the fact that some lay people generally complain that the tennis scoring system is difficult to comprehend, the CTL authorities have stepped in and tweaked it in a manner that it now makes it easy for people who had got the hang of it in the first place to complain that they too don’t get it anymore.

All matches are for a single set, and the winner is the one who gets five games first. Each tie will consist of 5 sets (matches). Matches will be a mix of men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles. And the winner of a tie will be the one that puts these all together in a quadratic equation. No, actually the winner of a tie will be the team that wins the highest number of games across all 5 sets.

On the first day of the event here, the Chennai team, which is named ‘V Chennai Warriors’, where ‘V’ probably stands for ‘very fishy’ because whoever we spoke to had no clue as to what it represented, took on Hyderabad Aces.

The loudest cheer of the night was understandably reserved for that woman that the Chennai fans have never had an opportunity to see live at a tennis stadium before. The woman in reference here, of course, is: Amala Paul. The actress, who was seated in the stands with her film director husband, smiled and simpered at the camera whenever it focused on her, leading to the fear that next year Vijay TV might hand over the award for ‘Best Actress in the supporting role of a tennis fan’ in one of its functions.

The tennis highlight of the night was the performance of Hyderabad Aces’ Martina Hingis, who in the course of a short single short set, using all her experience, produced the level of sweat that would have otherwise taken her all three sets to come up with elsewhere. She was incredulous that this was winter in Chennai.

Ha. Ha. Ha. The Swiss Miss, if she had bothered to read upon the history of Chennai Open Tennis tournament, would have realised that we have had players pulling out of the tournament in early January (technically peak winter here) on grounds of — rim shot — heat exhaustion.

Anyway, Chennai lost to Hyderabad on that night, and on the next day, it took on Nagpur Orangers, named so because the favourite colour of all its players is orange. And much to the disappointment of the handful of fans, though the contest was a close one, there was no Amala Paul in the stands.

The quality of tennis, even if patchy at times, was exciting. Overall, the hope of the fans was that the CTL will live up to the high expectations that it triggered on the night of the formal inaugural at Mumbai, which was dutifully captured by a sports-mad website via this headline: “Tennis star Martina Hingis spotted in saree at CTL 2015 opening event”.

Pssst! By the way, V Chennai Warriors’ co-owner is Prabhu Deva, who we can confirm to be a former lover boy of Nayantara.