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At 56, tennis coach Mayur Vasant finally dons India colours

Tennis coach Mayur Vasant is excited at finally getting the opportunity to don India colours at the age of 56.

GEARING UP FOR HELSINKI: Mayur Vasant during a practice session at Mumbai University, Kalina, recently. PIC/NIMESH DAVE
GEARING UP FOR HELSINKI: Mayur Vasant during a practice session at Mumbai University, Kalina, recently. PIC/NIMESH DAVE

Vasant, a former India No 3 in the 1980s, and currently head of coaching at the All India Tennis Association’s (AITA) Tennis Centre Of Excellence at Santacruz, will captain India in the 55-plus age group category at the World Team Championships in Helsinki, Finland (June 19-24). He has also been picked as non-playing captain in the veterans (50-plus) team. KG Ramesh, Jayant Kadhe and R Nagraj comprise the 50-plus national squad while the 55-plus team is formed by Vasant, Sudarshan Rao and Yogesh Shah.

The Indian team will compete with 30 teams from across the world in a three-match tournament (two singles and one doubles encounter).

“The AITA did not send a team for the last two-three years since some were going there at their own expense and making a laughing stock of the country by losing in the first round.”

“This year, following a court case, proper trials were held at the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) courts last month. The team was picked from around 40 participants. It’s a matter of great pride for me to represent my country,” Vasant, who left for Finland alongwith the team on Wednesday told mid-day earlier in the week.

Following the Team championships, Vasant will also represent India in the World Individual Championships at the same venue (25 June-2 July).

He is particularly pleased as he belongs to a family that has an impressive tennis tradition. “My father G Vasant was a Davis Cupper and later became coach of the India Davis Cup team. My sister Nirupama Mankad was India No 1, two-time Asian champion and a Fed Cup player. My nephew Harsh Mankad has also played in the Davis Cup. So, it’s very satisfying to take my family’s sporting legacy forward,” added Vasant.

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