Aces up their sleeve

Aces up their sleeve

There is no question about the popularity of cricket in India. However, this year has seen the commercialisation of a number of other games and the involvement of private bodies, movie stars and cricketers in these.

The various leagues involving kabaddi and football proved to be a breath of fresh air in a cricket-crazy nation like ours. And now, it’s the season of tennis with Champions Tennis League (CTL) and International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) creating much excitement among the tennis fans here.

While both have found many takers, the tennis-lovers are delighted to see some legendary players like Venus Williams, Roger Federer and Martina Hingis live in action. With a number of CTL matches taking place in the City, sports enthusiasts are 

delighted. Besides, youngsters have always looked up to a number of Indian tennis players like Bengaluru boy Rohan Bopanna, Leander Paes and Sania Mirza. Metrolife speaks to a few people about the commercialisation of the game which is also leading to its increasing popularity. 

Dinesh, the founder of Fit.I.Am, a company that combines functional fitness with fun, feels that commercialisation of the game is a good thing. “Any game will gain popularity only when there is some commercialisation. Take the Pro Kabaddi League for instance.

Though kabaddi has existed in our country for years, no one paid much attention to it. But with this league, kabaddi was the talk of the town in a span of a few hours. Unless you add some glamour to a game, people wouldn’t accept it,” he notes.

“It may kill the sanctity of the game. However, it helps revive the lost sport and make people more open to sports other than cricket. Now, with the emergence of different private bodies in various games, more and more youngsters will be encouraged to take to the sport,” he adds. 

Budding tennis players are ecstatic at the rising popularity of the game. Rishii Rohra, a student of Christ University and a state-level tennis player, says, “In our country, people want their children to focus on academics and get a job rather than play a sport.

To add to that, tennis is an expensive game. That’s why the interest in the game has been so less all these years. So leagues like these are a really good thing,” he feels. He further adds that it’s great for budding tennis players to watch international sporting legends live.

“When you watch pros playing live, you observe their approach and the way they handle the game. This is motivating for up-and-coming players,” he notes. 

Though she has not been a fan of any of the leagues of any game, it’s the thought of young and experienced sports persons playing together in one team that excites Kavya Lakshminarayan, a techie, about them. A huge fan of Roger Federer, she is all set to watch the tennis legend live in Delhi in December at the IPTL.

“I was a little sceptical about watching a league live as a league generally involves players playing for random teams just for the sake of money. But when you see players of different ages coming together, it’s exciting,” she notes.

“My father introduced me to tennis when I was a kid and back in the day, I was a huge fan of Andre Agassi. Later, I was really impressed with Roger Federer and have been a fan of his for long now. So I am really excited about watching the game. You tend to be more excited about these things as there are only a few grand slams held in the world. And we are really lucky to watch them live here,” she sums up. 

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