At AITA's coaching course: a dentist, engineer & banker
(Eds: Adds background, minor editing throughout)
By Amanpreet Singh
New Delhi, Sep 11 (PTI) It's difficult to find something common between a dental surgeon, an IT professional, a mechanical engineer and a banker, but then sports is known to unite in more ways than one.
This year, out of 35 candidates who have applied for an AITA course to become tennis coach, 16 are from diverse backgrounds ranging from engineering to journalism.
Some of them have already left plum jobs to pursue the sporting career.
Chennai-based Ganesh Srinivasan, who has been in the IT industry for close to three decades, has already given up a decent annual package of Rs 24 lakh to become a tennis coach - a job which might not give him more than 20,000 per month initially.
"I have seen a lot of professionals, who are struggling with physical fitness. I want to help them. Playing sport creates happy hormones. I think tennis coaching is a fantastic alternate profession," the 52-year-old, who till recently worked with Ernst and Young, told PTI.
Then there's Ravi Shankar, a dental surgeon based in Tutikori, Tamil Nadu, who wants his twins to become tennis players.
"I played tennis at district level but could not become a professional. I have a boy and a girl, they are twins. My wife Parvada Varthini is also a dental surgeon, MDS. She is now pushing me to become a tennis coach," Shankar said after a training session.
"I had forgotten myself but again after picking up racquet, I am getting myself back. Tennis is like meditation for me."
However, it is not a surprise to see that well-educated people are now aspiring to join the tennis coaching profession since the country has seen boom in tennis long before badminton took over as most sought after sport after cricket.
A trend has been witnessed in modern cities such as Chandigarh where hundred of tennis academies have mushroomed and Markers have gradually taken over as coaches, earning close to 50,000 a month.
So, people who hardly earned Rs 300 to 400 as daily wages found that tennis coaching is a profitable. Without doubt, the tennis coaching has become lucrative.
Bikram Barua left his job at the Royal Bank of Scotland and now wants to establish his academy in Guwahati. He already has some experience of coaching and had no hesitation in quitting his job.
Then there is Vignesh Balaji, a computer scientist, who wants to coach kids in the rural areas of Tutikori.
Kanwaljit Singh, who conducted the seven-day (Level III) Foundation Coaches Course at Delhi Lawn Tennis Association, said they used to get one or two odd cases of non-sport candidates but this year the number is phenomenal.
"It's really motivating. It shows that tennis coaching is now very respectable,