Why Indian tennis is yet to produce a champion

Why Indian tennis is yet to produce a champion

By Hemanshu Chaturvedi | 24 September, 2016
Members of the Spanish Davis Cup team in Delhi during their World Group play off tie at the RK Khanna Stadium.
Tennis and golf have always being called as game of the elite (yesteryears) yet we had players who were a force to reckon with- ABC= Amritraj; Borg; Connors. Senior Ramanathan Krishnan made it to two semi-finals at Wimbledon. Today tennis is a mass game with all amenities and international tournaments at our doorstep—yet we don’t have a champion out of the players. I have played active 12 years of tennis on the Indian circuit which makes me a worried man for future of Indian tennis.
 
As youngsters, we played the game on cement courts with heavy wooden racquets which were given to us. Even the shoes we wore had thin sole. To top it all we had almost negligible exposure to international tennis knowledge. In stark comparison, today, we have synthetic courts in almost all towns; light weight racquets of world class quality as also the shoes are much better now.
 
In our times playing a international Junior circuit was a dream-- today we have a number of junior and senior ITF circuit, Grand Slam championship organizers have set shops to promote them selves . Young players are getting chances to go and watch Tennis Pilgrimages’,  coaching clinic by world champs for players and coaches are organized, ITF certification of coaches is full stream, Then what is lacking which is keeping us out of Top 10.
 
As a tennis player today, I ams disturbed and worried when I think about the future of Indian tennis as I feel no player who can make it to even Top 50. To me the problem is multi dimensional, my recent visit to the India-Spain Davis Cup tie showed me many incidents which clearly defined a champion from a player-- the Red (Spain team) were always together be it practice or a dead rubber match which included all but the Blue (Indian team) was seen in bits and pieces at the bench which to me was a big difference. 
 
 
In the 70’s and 80’s all the top players were from USA barring few champions and if we see today not even 1 player in Top 10 in Men’s Singles is from USA. According to data India has a population of 6.6 million active tennis players which is second only to USA yet we have no champion’s today or can we seen one emerging in the near future. The other countries have gone much ahead in producing champion players which includes Spain; Russia; Czech Republic; Serbia. These countries must have done something unique or out of the way to have made their presence felt, then why are we not reaching to their standard’s with no dead weights on our back !!!
 
As a tennis player today, I am as disturbed and worried when I think about the future of Indian tennis as I feel no player who can make it to even Top 50. To me the problem is multi dimensional, my recent visit to the India-Spain Davis Cup tie showed me many incidents which clearly defined a champion from a player-- the Red (Spain team) were always together be it practice or a dead rubber match which included all but the Blue (Indian team) was seen in bits and pieces at the bench which to me was a big difference.
 
The Indian team played like players and while the Spaniards like Champions, the attitude was important not the results.
What we badly need today is a good and committed coaching and a systematic plan with an aim rather than a wish. The entire Tennis fraternity should come together with solutions and give 100% for the nation and its tennis glory, a case study may be done on successful tennis countries and convert this large number of players to a pool of Champion’s. 
The willingness is not missing in players and parents but the merger of effort is missing.    
 
The columnist is a sports guru
 

There are 4 Comments

A great piece of art coming from deep nationalism and very wide experience, time to produce some million dollar players by creating committed structures and institutional culture...

Sania Mirza is Indian. Mahesh Bhupathi, Leander Paes? Doubles tennis is tennis. Women's tennis is tennis. Wake up.

After reading your column.....I feel that there is a lack of effort from the coaches corner as well not only from parents or kids side. We need dedicated coaches like you...........

In Indian tennis, we have found multiple star cast, good performer, and record holders in the WTA ranking. Tennis is also a popular game in India after cricket and we have witnessed several kinds of good performers like Sania Mirza, Mahesh Bhupathi, and many others. Previously also they are performing well in several big tournaments. Hope in near future also, we have found different types of best performers from India and learn some better techniques from them. https://vimeo.com/197380565

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