Rohan Bopanna excited at ‘overwhelming’ response to scholarship scheme

Bopanna is offering 60 full scholarships at The Sports School in Bengaluru.

The top 30 players in India, as determined by national rankings, were being sent invitations to appear for the trials, says Bopanna.   -  V. Sreenivasa Murthy

It is a big project through which Rohan Bopanna wants to lay a strong foundation for the future of Indian tennis. He is quite excited about the response to the 60 full scholarships he is offering at The Sports School in Bengaluru.

“We have been overwhelmed by the response. The website was crashing. We have shortlisted about 60 players to be called for selection trials in the first batch, at the school by July 15,” said Bopanna.

Bopanna’s plan is to choose 10 boys and 10 girls each in the U-12, U-14 and U-16 age groups. “We may change a bit depending on the talent we get to see,” he said.

Fitness videos

Bopanna said for the top 30 players in India - as determined by national rankings - the invitation was being sent directly for appearing in the trials, while the rest have been asked to send videos of their fitness. “For the players in the 50 to 200 ranking range, we are asking for four basic fitness videos, to check for agility, strength, hand-eye coordination, etc. It helps to filter the players,” said Bopanna.

Even though a national ranking was mandatory, Bopanna said there were nearly 100 applications of players without any rank.

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For those who don’t get selected for the scheme, Bopanna said there was option for the interested to pay and join the regular scheme. “The advantage is that you get to train with a lot of good players,” he said.

Hostel facility

The school mentioned that the scheme for advanced players cost ₹10 lakh annually, ₹6.25 lakh for beginners and ₹8 lakh for those at the intermediate level. “For scholarship, we are offering tennis and schooling. There is an option for the players to avail the hostel facility on a fee,” said Bopanna.

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“We are trying to give full scholarship to as many as possible. The idea is to help the good players,” said Bopanna.

Saying that it was hard to take care of all the expenses of the players, Bopanna stressed that the idea was not to bite more than what one could chew, and the challenge was to run the scheme consistently. “In our regular scheme, we don’t charge players when they are not at the academy. When they are playing tournaments, we don’t charge, even though we have to pay the coaches and have so many other expenses,” he said.

Bopanna said that there would be separate set of coaches to take care of the players. “We plan to have the selection trials for at least three days, so that we get a good assessment of the tennis and fitness of the players,” said Bopanna.

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