Former India tennis ace hails young squad's medal-winning exploits in Incheon
One of India's all-time tennis greats Vijay Amritraj is happy that despite top players deciding to give the Asian Games a miss, the young team managed to win five medals at Incheon, South Korea.
Owners of the Champions Tennis League franchises with tennis legend Vijay Amritraj (seventh from left) in the city yesterday. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
"India's performance at the Asian Games was fantastic. Honestly, I always felt that we are the best in Asia if you leave aside Kei Nishikori of Japan. We beat Chinese Taipei and Korea in the Davis Cup.
"The Asian Games performance was really good for the upcoming players," said the 60-year-old on the sidelines of the announcement of the six franchises of the Champions Tennis League yesterday.
Amritraj blamed the packed tennis calendar for players having to chose between taking part in various tournaments and representing the country.
"In tennis the calendar is so tight that players cannot be blamed for not being available to represent the country. Like Sania (Mirza) decided to play for India while Leander (Paes) and Somdev Devvarman decided to play tournaments. It is their personal choice."
No long term contracts
Talking about the forthcoming league, Amritraj said that international players including World No 5 David Ferrer, World No 6 Agnieszka Radwanska, Venus Williams (World No 18) and former World No 1 Martina Hingis who feature in the tournament do not have a long-term contract.
"The players are contracted only for one year as we don't know if they can maintain their ranking the next year. Hence, we can have a fresh set of players for the next edition."
The Padma Shri awardee also feels that Sania should once again start focusing on her singles career. "Sania had one good year of singles. I'd like her to continue playing singles as she had the right aggressive attitude.
"Her performances have brought an incredible amount of inspiration to everyone. I think it's time that families start to believe that sport could be treated as a profession," said Amritraj who felt an Indian doubles pair has a good chance of winning a medal at the Rio Olympic Games.