French Open return champion Rohan Bopanna, who won the mixed doubles title with Canadian partner Gabriela Dabrowski, said on Thursday that to create champions in singles, the country needs to build a system in place at the grassroot level.
In an interview to PTI, Bopanna said that players need support from junior level to create champions. He said, “Never give up on your dreams. That is something which stands out (in this win).” “To get singles champions we need to have a system in place at the grassroots level. We have a very limited support from the Federation (AITA), or Corporates. We need that system to compete with European standards. We still have a long way to go,” he said.
“It’s not about complaining. We should look at it in a positive way. Everyone from outside plays a part, whether it is Federation, parents, coaches. These guys need support from junior level and that is when you create champions.”
This is Bopanna’s first Grand Slam in 14 years. Bopanna gave credit to his team behind his success. “Age is only a number. You can’t set a timeline (for achievements). As long as you believe in yourself and keep working hard, nothing can stop you. I worked towards my goal, every single day and I am feeling grateful that my team also put in efforts. Although tennis is an individual sport, everyone has contributed in it,” he said.
The 37-year-old, who has an academy in Bangalore, said, “I am also bringing a couple of coaches to my academy in Bangalore from outside. They will be here for a year and help these kids. I tell the players if they go outside, go for a year not for a month or so.
“In a month it does not really help improve much. That’s why I am bringing these coaches, let’s hope the kids make good use of this opportunity, coming this month,” he said.