New challenge awaits Rohan Bopanna

Rohan Bopanna was elected a vice-president of the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association in February, just before the COVID-19 pandemic started raging.

Rohan Bopanna makes his first foray into tennis administration.

It would be ideal for competitive action to resume by mid-July, Bopanna felt.   -  AP

Rohan Bopanna’s first foray into tennis administration could not have come at a tougher time. The 2017 French Open mixed doubles champion was elected a vice-president of the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association in February, just before the COVID-19 pandemic started raging.

Since then, tennis has come to a standstill, with tournaments cancelled worldwide. As governing bodies slowly start picking up the pieces, Bopanna will have his hands full, but he remains upbeat and hopes to be the “players’ voice”.

READ: Rohan Bopanna, Rajeev Ram upset with Bartoli’s comments

“The offer was something very new from a federation because not many have active players in administrative roles,” said Bopanna of his decision to take the plunge. “Having a player on board gives a different perspective — be it in running a tournament, talking to sponsors, government etc. I really hope to make a change.”

Immediate concern

Of immediate concern will be the need to revive tennis activity. Paucity of tournaments has been a long-standing feature of Indian tennis. Last year, India hosted just two Challengers for men and six $25k ITF Futures events for women. With travel restrictions expected to be in place for a while, home tournaments may hold the key.

“It’s high time we start a domestic circuit,” Bopanna said. “Even a weekend tournament will open up opportunities in the current scenario. In the long-term it will help youngsters grow up with competition without travelling countries.”

READ: Rohan Bopanna set to return to tennis court from May 25

“Indian players are great at practise, but aren't exposed to competition and problem solving from an early age. We want to change that. We have the ATP Bengaluru Open, the hub. We have to build around it with a bunch of local tournaments.”

It would be ideal for competitive action to resume by mid-July, Bopanna felt. “Players are slowly starting to practise and we need to provide some tournaments for them to ease back. At least by mid-July we should look to have one or two tournaments.”

“It should start at the State-level. It has to be bottom-up. Maharashtra is doing great, hosting multiple AITA events, Futures, Challengers alongside Tata Open ATP 250. We can all learn from them and incorporate the good things.”

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos