Vijay Amritraj: Fantastic year for Sania

Remembered specially for his exploits at the 1974 US Open where he knocked out then French Open champion and World No.4 Bjorn Borg, Indian tennis legend Vijay Amritraj couldn’t refrain from praising Sania Mirza for her consistency and dream run which has fetched her 10 doubles titles in 2015.

Sania Mirza has won 10 doubles titles on 2015, nine of them with Martina Hingis.   -  Getty Images

Remembered specially for his exploits at the 1974 US Open where he knocked out then French Open champion and World No.4 Bjorn Borg, Indian tennis legend Vijay Amritraj couldn’t refrain from praising Sania Mirza for her consistency and dream run which has fetched her 10 doubles titles in 2015.

The unstoppable duo of Mirza and Swiss veteran Martina Hingis came up with another stupendous performance on Sunday to win the women’s doubles title at the prestigious $7 million WTA Finals in Singapore.

This is the pair’s ninth title together this season, having also won in Beijing, Wuhan, Guangzhou, US Open (New York), Wimbledon (London), Charleston, Miami and Indian Wells.

Sania also won at the Sydney International in January with American Bethanie Mattek—Sands to have her doubles trophy count to 10 this year.

“It’s terrific. I have even posted that on twitter today saying that it was a spectacular victory and run at the WTA finals for Sania. She and Hingis complement each other very well. Hingis is very skillful at the nets and Sania is powerful from the baseline. They make a great combination and now their confidence is very high as well,” said Amritraj.

“In doubles you need to have a good partner. It is important to understand your partner well both on and off the court. Nowadays those who play singles don’t play doubles that much, so the players who play doubles, play for a longer duration of time and so the consistency is there,” the 61-year-old said.

Reigning US Open champion Flavia Pennetta and Hingis are among the foreign attractions in the upcoming second season of the Champions Tennis League (CTL).

The CTL, which features six city-based franchises, will be held from November 23 to December 6.

Apart from international male and female players, each team will also have an international legend as their playing captain. They will also include an Indian male player and a top ranked junior Indian girl and boy from each city.

Amritraj, who is the mastermind behind this league, believes that with India struggling to develop world class talent in the singles category, the CTL will hopefully find a way out in the years to come.

Currently India have only Yuki Bhambri (89) in the top 100 of the men’s singles rankings with next best player Somdev Devvarman (180) ranked close to 200.

“We don’t have a problem with doubles, problem is with the singles. We are not being able to break into the top 50-60 players. I am very happy to see that Yuki has broken into the top 100. That is a huge milestone and he will capitalise on it and he is doing all the right things. Somdev is having a little bit of letdown in confidence. He still has it in him to break into top 100. We need these guys to push each other to get into top 100 and then into top 50,” he said.

The Padma Shri award winner pointed out that the 12 young Indian players accompanying top foreign players during CTL will give them a lot of confidence and change them as players.

“For the last 25 years nobody is searching for new singles talent in India. Everybody does it on their own. Junior does it on his own, works with coaches, he spends his own money to be able to do it,” said Amritraj, who had a career singles win-loss record of 384-296, and winning 16 singles and 13 doubles titles.

“What CTL has done is given the 12 young Indian players a platform to play with the great tennis legends and get close to them. We are giving the juniors a strong healthy opportunity which nobody has given them in this country since independence. I hope CTL will eventually help produce good Indian singles player,” he said.

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