Somdev: ‘Need to figure a way out to nurture the current talent’

Somdev Devvarman was part of the Sportstar’s panel discussion on Wimbledon 2017 which also featured former tennis star Ramesh Krishnan.

“If you do the right things now, in 10 years you will see results,” said Somdev, when quizzed about Indian tennis’ future.   -  Special Arrangement

Wimbledon is here and India has five players featuring in the doubles category, but not a single representative in the singles category.

Commenting on the same, former Indian tennis player Ramesh Krishnan said: “We do not have any Indian players in the qualifying stages itself of the tournament, which I think is disturbing.”

Indian players for a long time have struggled to shine in the singles category, with very few Grand Slam appearances, while the doubles department seems to be blooming, which brings about the big question — how do we improve the singles aspect of the game?

Somdev Devvarman, who was part of the Sportstar Facebook Live session on Saturday with Ramesh Krishnan, said: “We can look at this in two ways: the short-term aspect and the long-term aspect. In the short-term, Yuki Bhambri has done well and has pulled his ranking up to where he is pretty much assured a spot in the US Open. Ramkumar Ramanathan has also improved his ranking to the 180s and will also compete at the US Open. Things are looking a little better now. In the long run, we need to figure a way out to nurture the current talent we have in a better way.”

When asked by a viewer on where he saw Indian tennis in a decade’s time from now, Devvarman replied, “It depends on what we do right now. It's going to be a cause and effect situation. If you do the right things now, in 10 years you will see results.”

“We are now at the mercy of prodigies coming up due to the support of their parents but we need to find a better way to nurture them. We need to create a system where there are more players coming out of a structure, then we have a chance to build more prodigies,” added Devvarman.

Speaking about how to ensure that the Indian players got the training and exposure they deserved, Ramesh said: “You have to have the facilities accessible. Right now it is very city-centric and I think we need to make sure that tennis courts are available in very part of the country and that more people have the access to play.”

The five Indian represents at the tournament are Leander Paes, who is pairing with Adil Shamasdin, Rohan Bopanna, pairing with Roger-Vasselin, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Jared Donaldson and lastly, the Indian combo of Divij Sharan and Purav Raja.