Former Indian Tennis legend Vijay Amritraj has said that the Champions Tennis League(CTL) which was launched in 2014, could provide India with quality singles players. The Times of India reported the icon who was ranked as high as 16 in his heydays, heaping praise on the franchise-based tennis tournament.Even though the country’s doubles players are reigning supreme at the highest level, India does not have any singles player in either men’s or women’s category. Yuki Bhambri leads the singles players in India by being ranked 106th in the ATP rankings.
The likes of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have etched their name amongst the greatest doubles players in tennis history. Meanwhile Sania Mirza who once breached the singles top 30 in 2007, has now shifted her focus to doubles and reached the Number 1 position in the WTA Doubles rankings.
But, Amritraj who established the league, reiterated that singles should be the priority for any upcoming Indian tennis player. He felt, "At the moment we are not good enough. As far as doubles is concerned, it's a great way to lengthen your career if you want to keep playing the sport and not do anything else.”
However, the venerated tennis star who was part of two Davis Cup runner-up campaigns with the Indian team asserted that the CTL would give the promising youngsters a chance to rub shoulders with major singles players such as Fernando Verdasco, Marco Baghdatis and Flavia Pennetta.
They would be representing different teams alongside a veteran, an Indian male player, a junior boy and girl. Amritraj who had won 16 singles titles in his eventful career stated, “The goal is to produce singles players. The opportunity is increasing and CTL is giving them a chance to see these players in the world's top 25. They get opportunities at finding out what they do, how they practise, their diet, their gym work and all of that. They have the opportunity to watch everything from close up and get inspired."
Implying that the current singles players were content with competing in lower-standard tournaments such as Challengers Series, he enunciated, "I think there's no estimate to what the opportunities are. There's lot more television coverage, lot more sponsorship available, there's lot more tournaments.”
The television expert affirmed, “If players are playing enough matches and enough tournaments in India, there are enough ATP and WTA points available that can put you in the top 300 without having to leave the country. They had to go to Europe and face some tough situations and tough weather conditions and compete away from home. So this is less expensive and more opportunity. Having said that, there is also even more competition."
The 2nd season of the Champions Tennis League is scheduled to begin in November, 2015.