KSLTA launches ITF blitz

KSLTA launches ITF blitz

During the launch of an ITF event two years ago, the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA) had promised to take the game to moffusil centres in their bid to expand the game beyond the metros and offer more opportunities to emerging Indian players.

And on Monday, the KSLTA lived upto their promise, announcing a calender of 10 ITF events for the year -- six for men and four for women -- an initiative that was appreciated by All India Tennis Federation vice-president Karti Chidambaram.

“I’ve always said that Karnataka, along with Chennai, Maharashtra and New Delhi are among the most active tennis centres in the country,” said Chidambaram at a press conference here on Monday night. “Tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world and its sad that we don’t have any player within the top 100. We had one -- Somdev Devvarman -- but even he has dropped out due to injuries.

“Tennis is a very brutal sport and needs tremendous amount of commitment to survive. Our goal is to groom at least 3-4 players in the next 5-7 years who can break into the top 100. For that, we need to create as many opportunities as possible and these ITF events are a way of developing those talents.

“An average tennis player needs to play a minimum of 26 events a year. In India, we don’t have enough ITF tournaments and as a result many of the budding players are forced to travel abroad. Since their rankings are very bad, they are forced to play the qualifiers and they get knocked out pretty early. With very less rewards most of them just give up.

“The best part about hosting events, especially in remote districts, is it will offer more chances to our kids. Not many foreigners would travel to these places, and as a result the chances of our players winning would be high.

“This will help them gain crucial ranking points with which they could seek byes in tournaments abroad. According to me, giving the current situation, conducting ITF events is the way forward for us and I encourage the other federations to follow suit,” Chidambaram added.The first event of the will be played in Mandya from May 28, followed by Mysore the next week before halting in Bangalore (June 11). Events will subsequently be held in Davangere, Dharwad, Belguam, Bidar, Gulbarga, Manipal, Mangalore and Shimoga.

The schedule (dates mentioned are start dates): Men: Mandya (May 28), Mysore (June 4), Bangalore (June 11), Davangere (Oct 15), Dharwad (Oct 22), Belgaum (Oct 29).
Women: Bidar (Sept 10), Gulbarga (Sept 17), Manipal (Dec 3), Mangalore/ Shimoga (Dec 10).

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