by P.S Sreejeet
Looking at the present sports scenario in our very own country India, tennis finds a place which is really regrettable. The country is sunk in Kohli’s and Dhoni’s wave and the impact is such that even a tennis-loving parents won’t be happy to send their kid to any tennis academy. I have no qualms in telling that its high time that we think beyond cricket.
Our country has produced players like Ramanathan Krishnan, Vijay Amritraj, Ramesh Krishnan, Leander Paes, Rohan Bopanna, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza who have done wonders.
Why there is a halt in terms of producing class players? Why we are not able to love this wonderful sport the way we love cricket and some other sports? Well, to unravel these queries I went to Noida sports complex which is located in sector 21 in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
In this sports complex, Abid Ali Khan works as a coach in Team Tennis Academy. The academy is quite known as its branches are spread across the country.
So following is the Interview excerpts:
Tell us about your background and why you choose Tennis?
I live in Raj Nagar, Delhi I have two younger brothers, we all studied in Kendriya Vidyalaya. My father was an army man and from a very young age I loved this sport and represented my school at all level. I have also played nationals. In my school days, I used to wait for the last period to get over so that I can take the CRPF bus and go to Chhatrasal Stadium. I used to practice a lot. My Father was earning only Rs.18,000 that so I couldn’t afford a good racquet and a coach. I started loving tennis from my school days. I used to watch a lot. I got gold in 2008 and 2009 nationals.
You said you didn’t get proper coaching? Then who taught you this game?
Gauri Shankar, sir taught me this game. He is still having his academy in Punjabi Bagh, Delhi. He knew I can’t afford the fees, so he gave me that leverage pay according to my capacity and I am also following the same footsteps.
So, you are running this all alone or you have other coaches also?
Actually, this is Aditya Sachdeva’s academy and I am working here. I have my own academy in Raj Nagar Extension and a few greater Noida. I came here to learn new and modern techniques from Aditya Ji so that further I can implement it while coaching. Adiya Sachdeva has given coaching to Yuki Bhambri, Divij Sharan and Karman Kaur Thandi.
Do you agree that tennis has evolved as a game?
Absolutely, 5 years ago, I even thought about quitting this sport because at that time I couldn’t see any future. Now, the perception has changed as you can see this part of Noida is a rural area and we have an academy. Many players are opening their academy in places like Meerut and Sonepat, so this is an indication that people are loving this sport. Even AITA level tournaments are been organized in Ghaziabad.
What is the biggest problem that tennis is facing at this point in time?
I think too much of interference from the board (politically) is a big problem, even in this sports complex. I am here, I know this. You cannot work freely. They interfere even in selection matters and this was the reason why I quit from many renowned places.
What do you do to enhance your coaching skills?
I travel a lot. I have gone to various countries like China, Hong Kong for high-level training and then I impart the same in Indian kids. I even got an offer from a Chinese Academy in China. They were ready to pay me Rs 3.5 lakh per month but I didn’t take that offer why? Because I want to impart the knowledge to our Indian kids.
In this academy, there are 4-5 kids who can make it to the higher level. Krish Goyal, Rushil, Adinirbhavya and Vijaan are the very talented player if nurtured well, can really make it big.
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