April 20, 2009 2:53:00 pm
Last week,the conversation with former Davis Cupper Jaidip Mukherjea at the Capital’s DLTA Complex occasionally veered off as he paused to make a quick observation on the tennis players practicing their forehands,backhands and volleys in front of him. Mukherjea is the chairman of the 2010 Commonwealth Games committee for the All India Tennis Association,and with the event scheduled in around a year,efforts have intensified to get athletes ready on time.
The sport has evolved beyond measure since Mukherjea used to play in the international tennis arena,with ‘fitness’ being as vital a byword as any, epitomised in Rafael Nadal’s sprints around court as he manages to reach each shot that every Tom,Dick,or Roger hurls at him.
Unfortunately,physical training has occupied a definite backseat in Indian sport,and a recent trip for the Commonwealth Games probables to Nick Bolletieri’s tennis academy in Florida showed just how much ground they had to cover to compete at the highest level. The academy is where many of the big-hitters of the game — Maria Sharapova,Max Mirnyi,and Tommy Haas,to name a few — prepare for the rigours of their profession,and while scattered trips to the establishment may not bring about an overnight change in the Indian system,the simple realisation of the kind of large-scale work needed to mould champions is a step forward.
The two Indians heralded as the country’s hopes for the future — Chennai Open runner-up Somdev Devvarman and Australian Open junior champion Yuki Bhambri — have one thing in common: their main practice bases lie outside India,and it is the high-quality physical education training they receive in Virginia and Florida respectively that has been responsible for their early success.
Though many of the other probables may not finally make it to the Indian CWG team next year,the long-term benefit of such knowledge is infinite,for players as well as coaches. At the moment,these preparations are being formulated with the aim of making a mark at the 2010 Games,but hopefully the wisdom gained along the journey will last much longer.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.