India must produce and nurture more talent like Somdev, Yuki and Vishnu to become tennis heavyweights, says Leander Paes
Leander Paes lamented that despite the promise and potential young Indian tennis players have been showing over the years, they have yet not fired at the highest level. The doubles ace also pointed out that the upcoming talent is not being shown enough support.
Young Indian tennis players Somdev Devvarman, have been given wild cards in the Chennai Open singles main draw. Pics/Getty Images, AFP
Three home players, led by Somdev Devvarman, currently the highest ranked Indian at 85, besides Yuki Bhambri and Vishnu Vardhan have been given wild cards in the Chennai Open singles main draw today. "We have to ask ourselves this question. How much support are we giving them?
Somdev is a great talent. His tennis is top class. Yuki Bhambri is another good talent. He was World Junior No 1 and not many Indian players have that talent. But we have not heard as much of him as we would have liked.
"Vishnu Vardhan is another talent. The guy won a Davis Cup match. The guideline while extending a wild card to a young player is not whether he would go on to win, but you have to look at whether the guy is working hard on his game.
"We need to nurture six, seven, eight players. We need more players that can keep India in the Davis Cup World Group. We have always played some of the best tennis in Davis Cup regardless of our ranking. We have always punched above our weight," he said.
No partner for London yet Paes also declined to state who he will partner at the London Olympics later this year, now that he has split with long-time buddy Mahesh Bhupathi. "That is for the All Indian Tennis Association (AITA) to decide. I am not going to answer it right now," he said. While Bhupathi is to partner Rohan Bopanna at the Chennai Open starting Monday, Paes has opted to pair with Serbian ace Janko Tipsarevic.