Mahesh Bhupathi, a former India Davis Cup captain, has stated that young players in the country needed expert coaches to guide them to perform better at the international level.
While noting that the country boasts of talents, Bhupathi said there is a lack of expertise in coaching and proper guidance. This, he said, is preventing them from doing well at the international level.
Speaking at an Aspire High-Performance Tennis Programme, the former player who noted that he had seen the journey play out over the years said there has never been any doubt in anyone’s mind about it.
Speaking of the past, Bhupathi pointed out that there were several players like Sandeep (Kirtane), Nitin (Kirtane), Rohit Reddy and others who were in top five in the rankings at junior level in the 1990s. Unfortunately, they could not step up their games and do bigger things due to lack of proper guidance.
The 45-year-old Bhupathi, who also noted that Chennai has always been a hotbed for tennis with stalwart families like the Krishnan’s and Amritraj’s, commended Sumit Nagal, who has risen to 130 in the ATP rankings on the back of an impressive 2019 and qualifying for the US Open main draw but lost to the legendary Roger Federer after taking a set off the Swiss.
While noting that everyone was excited because he took a set the grand slam winner, Bhupathi revealed that he had known Sumit when he was 10 or 11 and he has improved a lot.
Speaking on the controversy surrounding his exit as non-playing captain of the Davis Cup team, he said he had not heard from the All India Tennis Association (AITA), adding that he was just told the day before they announced Rohit Rajpal that they would pick him because he wasn’t comfortable going to Islamabad, Pakistan due to the political differences between both countries. The game was eventually moved to Kazakhstan which was won by India.
He, however, said India journalist have been picking wrong headlines. He gave an instance of Sumit’s performance after he played Roger (Federer), and Sania making a comeback, describing them as Indian tennis.
Bhupathi also said that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics had been sensationalised. He added that there is nothing exciting to look forward to the Olympics as no one has qualified yet.
He added that the tournament remains irrelevant for India till Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan or whoever the doubles team is, actually qualifies.
Written by: Oladipupo Mojeed