This Bhagat Singh is revolutionising tennis

From being a ball boy to being a versatile tennis coach, the 39-year-old Bhagat has achieved quite a bit from a humble background.

Tennis coach Bhagat Singh with a trainee in Hong Kong.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

His name is readily recognised and reminds everyone of the freedom fighter. This Bhagat Singh is trying to revolutionise the tennis market by offering quality balls at better price.

“We have priced a carton of quality balls at Rs. 5,000 — 24 cans and 72 balls. We have been to Australia, China and Chinese Taipei over the last three years, and eventually tied up with a manufacturer in Thailand who makes balls for some of the leading brands,” said
Bhagat, who owns a tennis centre in Hong Kong, where he has been coaching for many years.

“I came into tennis accidentally. When I was passing by the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA), I was asked whether I wanted to be a ball boy. I agreed. It was for 10 rupees an hour. After some time, I wanted to be a coach. I used to practice against the wall for six to seven hours daily by borrowing a racquet,” recalled Bhagat, who started his career as a mini tennis coach as a 17-year-old at the Cosmic Tennis Centre run by Karan Rai.

Bhagat firmly believes that Indian tennis could become a lot better if the rates of the balls are brought down, which would encourage coaches to use new balls a lot regularly than they do now.

Having gained considerable experience at the Mahesh Bhupathi Centre in Bengaluru and later at the DLTA, working with some of the leading players like Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna among others, Bhagat slowly established himself as a good coach. He travelled around too.

During one such visit, he got the offer to be a coach in Hong Kong. “I work with many good players who are in the national Davis Cup, Fed Cup and junior Davis Cup teams,” he said.

From being a ball boy to being a versatile tennis coach, the 39-year-old Bhagat has achieved quite a bit from a humble background, educating himself suitably through various coaching courses at the national and international levels.

“We make all types of balls — green, red, orange — for different age groups. We also make the standard balls which have the approval of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). We have written to the ITF for renewal of the approval for the fresh season. We can give special rates for academies,” said Bhagat, who assures that the cost of the balls had been cut by one-third of the market price of other brands, without compromising on quality.

He relies on his wife, Mehak Khullar Singh, for media and communications. His daughter Kaira is five years old and has the potential to develop into a good player, thanks to the tennis atmosphere that gives her constant company.

Bhagat is indeed a warrior. Aptly, he has named the company Skywarriors.

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