Anil Khanna pitches idea to Nadal on developing tennis

Khanna said that he was using the platform to plant an idea in Rafael Nadal's mind about the need for Grand Slams to support the game better.

Rafael Nadal Davis Cup Spain New Delhi India

Rafael Nadal is one of the best opinion leaders in tennis.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

As the vice-president of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), Anil Khanna has the pulse of the game and the changes being planned. At the draw ceremony of the Davis Cup World Group play-off, Khanna said that there was a proposal to play the semifinals and final of Davis Cup in neutral venue.

He said that he was not in favour of such a move as the home and away format triggered a lot of passion and had proved the best.

Khanna said that he was using the platform to plant an idea in Rafael Nadal's mind, one of the best ‘’opinion makers’’ in tennis, about the need for Grand Slams to support the game better.

Quoting figures with ease, Khanna said that the four Grand Slams generated about $500 million as profit, and only $2 million was being utilised for development of the game. He pointed out that there has been a dramatic drop in the number of tournaments being played at the Futures and Challenger-level around the world this season, owing to the increase in prize money.

He said that in the first eight months of the season, the number had come down from 133 to 71, and had matching figures individually for Europe, America and other regions.

"If the US Open can spend $250 million to have a roof for the court, we may as well spend about $100 million of profits for meeting the prize money requirements of Challengers and Futures around the world," said Khanna.

It is well known that even though there was a lot of money in tennis, only the top-100 or 150 players could lead a good life with the earnings from the game.

While the Grand Slams continued to offer more money every season, even for the first round losers and qualifiers, Khanna stressed that it was important to take care of the base for a healthy future of the game.

Rafael Nadal, the 14-time Grand Slam champion, kept a stony face while listening to the point.

Khanna wished luck for both the teams for the tie even as he thanked Spain for fielding one of its best teams. ‘’I pray for the Indian team to do well,’’ he signed off.