Former Tiger Tennis Netter Starts Professional Career in Little Rock
April 1, 2010
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Former Memphis men's tennis player Amrit Narasimhan is making his debut on the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Men's Pro Circuit this week at the St. Vincent Auxiliary Professional Men's Tennis Tournament in Little Rock, Ark. The 2008 graduate of the University of Memphis received a wild card bid to the tournament after taking the last year off from tennis before deciding to pursue tennis professionally.
"I was at the US Open in December and I saw a lot of my friends playing and people that I had defeated in the past and realized that I could have a good professional career," Narasimhan said. "I decided to turn pro and get back to playing tennis competitively, so I have spent the last couple of months training back home in Houston and now I am playing in my first professional tournament this week in Little Rock."
"I see friends of mine like Bob and Mike Bryan (currently ranked No. 3 in the world in doubles) doing so well on the tour and the fact that I have beat Davey Sandgren and John-Patrick Smith of Tennessee (currently ranked No. 2 in doubles for NCAA Division I men's tennis), one of the best doubles pairs in college, which shows me that I can do well as a professional player." Narasimhan said.
So far in the pre-qualifying draw at the U.S. Futures tournament at the Rebsamen Tennis Center in Little Rock, Narasimhan has made his way through three rounds of singles play to advance to the semifinals of the pre-qualifier. In the first round of play, the former Memphis netter downed 20-year-old Russian netter, Evgeniy Belov, 6-3, 6-4.
In the second round of singles play, Narasimhan upended Dimitri Pippos, ranked No. 108 in Australia, 6-1, 6-1.
In third round action, Narasimhan rallied from being down 10-9 in the third set super tiebreaker to defeat former Ball State No. 1 singles player, Jose Perdomo, the third ranked player in Puerto Rico according to the International Tennis Federation (ITF), 1-6, 6-3, 12-10.
Narasimhan, who transferred to the U of M from Tyler Junior College in Texas prior to the 2006-07 season, will face Christian Welte, a former collegiate tennis player at N.C. State, on Thursday at 2 p.m. The former Tiger will figure out who he will play in the qualifying draw of the St. Vincent Auxiliary Professional Men's Tennis Tournament on Friday evening at 6 p.m., when the draws will be released to the public. Play in the qualifying rounds will begin on Sat., April 3 at the Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock.
The USTA event in Little Rock is a USA Futures event. The prize for the event is $15,000. Narasimhan explained what it takes to become a full-fledged professional player.
"To get to the main level of professional tennis you have to play futures and challenger tournaments," Narasimhan explained. "Once you advance to the round of 16 in the main draw of a futures event you start earning so many points toward a world ranking which eventually allows you to play challenger events. In challenger events you get the opportunity to play some players that play on the main ATP tour and once you earn so many points and move up even further in the rankings you are eligible to play in the main ATP tour events."
During his time off from playing competitive tennis, Narasimhan didn't get too far from the tennis community. He spent time working in New York City the tennis franchise known as Sportime, as well as working with Grand Slam Tennis Club, operated by Ivan Lendl, ranked No. 1 in the world for 270 weeks in the late `80s.
Since deciding to get back to playing tennis competively. Narasimhan has put a constant emphasis on the conditioning aspect of preparing for tennis.
"I think the most important part of tennis is staying in shape," Narasimhan stated. "So I have really focused in on my conditioning over the last few months as I have prepared to make my professional debut."
As Narasimhan tries to move his way up the ladder in professional tennis, one of the most important things will be sponsors so that he can pay to enter futures and challenger events.
"One of the most important things in trying to make it as a professional tennis player is sponsorships," Narasimhan said. "I currently have a partial sponsorship from Head, which will provide me with tennis racquets. Right now I am seeking other sponsorships. For the people willing to sponsor me, I will wear their company logo and display it on my website which will be in up within the next few weeks. The U.S. Open was the United State's second most profitable sporting event in 2010. For anyone who sponsors me, if I am able to make it as a professional, their logo will be seen by a lot of tennis fans around the world. I am looking for any support people can give me."
After the USTA Men's Pro Circuit event in Little Rock. Narasimhan will head back to his home in Houston before heading to the nation of his birth for the India F4 Futures event in early May. From there he plans to head to South Africa in late may and then Great Britain in June.
Anyone interested in following Narasimhan as he tries to make his way up the ladder of professional tennis can e-mail him at email@example.com.