Aces up his sleeve

Aces up his sleeve

One of the most well-known faces in the Indian tennis scene, Vijay Amritraj, was in Bangalore recently to attend a promotional event for Louis Philippe.

According to the former tennis ace, who has ranked as high as no 16, Indian players progress at a different speed when compared to the players from the West. 

“I have always thought that Indians mature faster mentally but take a little longer to mature physically. It is exactly the opposite in the West – they are physically grown up by 17 or 18 but aren’t mentally mature enough when compared to Indians,” he says. He adds that this should discourage people from the sport. 

“If we don’t achieve results at 18, 19 or 20, and just because someone else does, I don’t think we should feel bad about that. I think we should put our head down to working hard and make sure that by the time we hit that 25 to 27 mark, we can get the results we want.” 

There are two things that an Indian tennis player must always remember. “First you must accept that you are going to have more failures than successes. Then, you must tailor your training habits to the point where in the late teens you don’t push yourself to the ground and you get injured. When athletes push their bodies beyond the limit, it becomes a constant battle,” he says. Vijay shared his admiration for the likes of Roger Federer, who has maintained his form through the years. 

When asked about what has changed in tennis in the past few years, he says that there is no longer one person dominating the field. These days, the likes of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic can be dethroned by players who are yet to make their mark on the court. “You have new guys threatening the old guards which makes it interesting for the future of tennis.”

He is positive about India’s chances against Serbia in the coming Davis Cup match up. “The Serbia match is going to be a very interesting one. It will possibly be more interesting because Novak won’t be here. This puts us in a position of saying ‘yes, I think the win is well within the touching distance’” he says. 

“Away matches are more difficult but it doesn’t mean anything. I think from a stand point of our youngsters like Somdev, Yuki and others, I think they are in their prime of their career. This is the time they should be doing what they are doing right now and winning as much as they can possibly win. Once they cross 31 or 32 for singles, it is basically trying to hold onto what you have,” he adds. 

On the Champions Tennis League, he says that it is only complementary to what Mahesh Bhupathi is doing. He says what he (Mahesh) is doing is great and he has support from everyone in the Asian tennis community. But their league will train the youth to participate in larger competitions. He says he draws his inspiration from his mother and his coach, Poncho Gonsalves.

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