What's the story?
Former Olympian Vishnu Vardhan has revealed the reasons as to why the Indian players could not make an impact at the recently-concluded Bengaluru Open as well as the Maharashtra Open tournament which was played earlier this year. He even gave his opinion on India's chances at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
India hosted its two ATP tournaments of the calendar in Maharashtra and Bengaluru where a lot of Indian players took part in the singles tournament. However, none of the players could take advantage of the home support as they could not even make it to the quarterfinals of either of the two events.
Vishnu Vardhan, who once held the 92nd position in the ATP doubles rankings, crushed Denim Yadav 6-0, 6-0 at Gondwana Club’s tennis courts before he took part in an interview.
The heart of the matter
Speaking to TOI on Sunday (16th February), Vishnu Vardhan explained how good infrastructure and coaching programmes can help India rise in the world of tennis. He said:
"We need to follow three-fold system — 1. Good Infrastructure, 2. coaching programmes, 3. Enough of tournaments — to produce quality players for ATP tournaments. I am not of the opinion that we should compete with European and US players. They are far ahead. At least we could compete with Asian nations — China, Japan and Korea — and see how we are doing in this three-fold system."
He further referred to the court in Gondwana and continued:
"Infrastructure is coming up as you can see even a club like Gondwana has very good courts. But, tournaments have gone down. In 2011-12, there were 18 tournaments for men’s in India. It should have only increased but it came down drastically to two tournaments in India in 2019."
Vardhan felt that the government's decision to replace the Commonwealth Scheme with the TOPS scheme has deterred the growth of tennis in India. He stated that the current scheme only has 4-5 players in it while the TOPS scheme groomed 20 players at a time.
Talking about the upcoming Tokyo Olympics 2020, Vardhan opined that the pair of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna can win a medal for the country. He signed off with the following statement:
"I would put my money on mixed doubles pair of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna. Sania is making her comeback. I have trained with her before coming to Nagpur. She is looking in good touch. She has her eyes set on Tokyo Olympics ticket. Rohan Bopanna, as usual, is in great shape. The pair of Rohan and Sania can be a better combo, who could eye a medal in tough Olympics event. The other player is Divij. I think he is out of race, but if he could make it, he is also a good bet."
It will be interesting to see how the Indian duo performs in the mixed doubles competition at the Olympics. On the other side, Vishnu Vardhan will look to improve his ranking with some impressive performances on the ATP tour.