Indian Davis Cup player Vishnu Vardhan, who is the top seed at the USD 15,000 CCI-ITF Futures tennis tournament here, has set his sights on improving his ATP ranking to at least 240 in singles.
The 25-year-old six-footer from Secunderabad, ranked 267 in the world going into the 13th Futures event conducted in India, said his main aim is to improve his ranking ahead of the Australian Open in January 2013.
"I will be focusing both on singles and doubles, more on the singles. In singles my aim is to dip under 240 so that I get a chance to play in the Australian Open qualifiers. In doubles I want to break into the top 200," said Vishnu during a media interaction at the Cricket Club of India.
Saying that his experience of playing with doubles specialist Leander Paes in the London Olympics was great, Vishnu said it also helped him a lot during India's Davis Cup campaign against New Zealand later.
"It has been a great year for me. I got a great opportunity to play in the Olympics. I would not have made it but for Leander's ranking. The experience of playing against the top players in the world helped me in the Davis Cup too," said Vishnu who got a lucky entry into the Games singles event too after the late withdrawal of German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Vishnu, who was ranked just beyond 300 in singles before the Games and improved it substantially later, lost in straight sets in the opening round against Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia in the London Olympics.
Vishnu, who won his first singles encounter in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group I play-off tie against New Zealand and also won the doubles with Divij Sharan to give India a winning 3-0 lead, said the tie was not easy though the hosts won 5-0.
"We won 5-0 but it was not an easy victory. The matches could have gone either way. Yuki (Bhambri) had to fight back from 0-2. We had to win (doubles) in five sets. If I had been forced to play the reverse singles (Sanam Singh replaced him in the dead rubber), it would have been tough," he said.
"It was great to play with Leander who is one of the greatest doubles players in history," said Vishnu who will play the USD 50,000 Yokohama challenger in Japan from November 8 after the Futures.
Crediting the Futures for the number of upcoming players in India currently with most of them ranked between 450 and 500, and some like himself around 300, Vishnu felt the way forward for the country's tennis is to host more Challengers.
"The Futures have been great for guys like me, Dhivij, Yuki and we have benefited by them. But you need to play against better opponents and hosting of more Challengers next year is the way to go forward.
"I am not complaining about Futures but Challengers are better. We should try and get (to host) more Challengers. It's the next step forward (for Indian tennis)," he said.
Asked whether he expected a wild card from the organisers of the Chennai Open, Vishnu said it would be a great opportunity for him if he got a wild card in India's lone ATP circuit tournament.
"It's their choice, but it would a great opportunity for me if I get a wild card," he said.