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
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.