Need to create a proper system, says Somdev Devvarman

Somdev Devvarman has warned that a fund squeeze will not help in getting the best people to move to India and settle here.

Speaking at an event in Chennai, Somdev said that the AITA has failed to show any progress in the last 30 years.   -  Special Arrangement

Former Indian tennis player Somdev Devvarman and the All India Tennis Association have been involved in a war of words recently, with the player hitting out at the way tennis is run. He recently pulled out of the proposed Centre of Excellence project following funding cuts to it.

The former India No. 1, who was appointed as the national observer for tennis by the Sports Ministry, recently questioned AITA’s vision for the sport.

When asked about the controversy during an event in the city on Friday, Devvarman said, “When people don’t do their job very well, they have to point fingers at others."

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"It doesn’t matter whether I’m the national observer or not. They still have a job at hand which they have failed by all means, to show any progress in the last thirty years. I was asking them a question how are we going to make the system better?

"And their response was ‘if he’s so great, why doesn’t he implement his vision?’ Are you joking? We’re not having adult conversations over here.”

Devvarman said it is important to create a proper system in place and warned that such fund squeeze will not help in getting the best people to move to India and settle here. “We need a culture where any kid anywhere feels that they have access to a certain system which can make them get better.”

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“If you want to get the best people in the world you have to pay them the best. Imagine the risk these professional coaches take to shift their base to India. Imagine the battle I had to go through to convince certain people to come to India and then tell them they will only paid half of what was agreed.”


Prajnesh Gunneswaran, who qualified for the main draw of the Australian Open, is not a part of the TOPS scheme.   -  R. Ragu


The 33-year-old was accused of bias after he did not recommend Ankita Raina’s name for the TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) funding. But the former India number one defended saying, “Well, you called the scheme Target Olympic Podium. Had you called the scheme Target Asian Games Podium, it would’ve been a completely different conversation."

"Let’s not forget, our very own Prajnesh Gunneswaran was also left out of the scheme and he was ranked higher than Ankita Raina at all times. He’s going to break into the top 100, he’s still not been funded by the government,” he added.

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