In a telephonic conversation with Vijay Amritraj the first thing that strikes you is his hearty laugh. Within a few seconds, you are in awe of the way he speaks.
At the moment, Amritraj is as ecstatic as any other Indian tennis fan. When you ask him about Sania Mirza's spectacular run on the hardcourts of the US he responds confidently by saying how it was just a matter of time.
"Some players get frustrated when they can't move forward from a certain point. But Sania has been focussed," Amritraj says from Bangalore, where he was as a promoter of the Good Earth Super Series' 2007, a nation wide junior tennis development program in association with the All India Tennis Association (AITA). "She has learnt to cope with both success and failure. But she has to stay fit now."
<b1>The US-based Indian, on being asked if he had a word with Sania back home, says: "No. I watched her play like any other Indian fan. I am good friends with her family and Sania is a lovely girl.
"She is extremely fit right now and all our good wishes are with her," says Amritraj.
But in between if you talk about his son Prakash --- he became the first Indian since Leander Paes in 1999 to enter the quarters of the Hall of Fame event in Newport --- he sheds his celebrity image and moulds into a proud father. His voice softens when he says that his son means the world to him.
"Prakash has always made me proud. He is doing very well, especially after coming back from an injury. He is preparing for the US Open qualifiers and will then be in Asia for more tournaments."
Amritraj also spoke about his commentating on television during Wimbledon. It's something that makes him feel "fortunate". "It feels good when even at this age you are in some way associated with the game," says Amritraj.
"From watching tennis when I was young to playing and now television. I guess I am fortunate."
Good Earth Super Series
|Good Earth: Where & When|
|From September 3: Chennai |
From October 15: Hyderabad
From November 12: New Delhi
From November 19: Bangalore
From December 24: Mumbai
The Good Earth Super Series is a five-city, six-tournament event. The first edition of this event will take place in Chennai, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.
The finale will be a la the 'ATP Master's' where the top eight players from each age group will compete for the ultimate honour of becoming the Good Earth Super Series champion 2007. Prizes include an international training stint and international tournament play for the champion in each age category for both boys and girls.
"This event is for children between 14-16 years," Amritraj said. "This event will also focus on health and fitness. It will be a good step in Indian tennis with the association of the AITA."