India's foreign coach for shotgun shooting, Marcello Dradi, is credited to have turned around the fortunes of marksmen in the last five years or so, but there is another facet that has stayed hidden.
The Italian, credited for the success of world record holder in double-trap, Ronjan Sodhi, world champion in trap, Manavjit Singh, and a host of youngsters, was once a tennis player and ranked among the top-100 in ATP rankings.
"Yes, I was ranked 73 briefly on the ATP and even played practice matches with Romania's Ilie Nastase and Sweden's Bjorn Borg, and got coached by Romania's Ion Tiriac. I also managed to reach the Amsterdam Grand Prix quarterfinals in 1976-77. But the cost of training and being on the circuit was the main reason I quit tennis, though it is still my first passion, even though I am a shooting coach," said Dradi, who set a world record in trap at the World Cup in Suhl (Germany) in 1988.
"Tiriac also told me that I would never make it to the top as I was too slow. I started shooting in 1983-84 and set the world record of 196/200 in Suhl in 1988, only to be broken by Marco Venturini some 20 days later at the World Cup in Italy," he says with a smile.
On whether he was game for teaching a few tennis tricks to the shooters, he said jokingly, "It's up to them. They want to learn, I will teach them. They want to stick to shooting, it's their wish."