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MSLTA announces performance analysis, team-based tennis for young players

With teamwork required only in a handful of tournaments in tennis, youngsters don’t build on that aspect of their game early on. The MSLTA hopes to change that with the introduction of team-based tournaments.

tennis Updated: Jul 31, 2016 16:03 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times
Tennis,MSLTA,Maharashtra Tennis Association
Tournaments like the Davis Cup require players to play in teams, something youngsters in the country don’t take on at an early age. The MSLTA hopes to change that with its newly- announced initiatives.(Sanjeev Sharma/ Hindustan times)

The Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) on Thursday announced a number of initiatives to help young players make a mark in the game.

From hosting tournaments to aiding players financially, the association has decided to revamp its outlook and promote the game in every district of the state. However, the most significant move is probably that of introducing team-based tournaments with franchisees being roped in and junior players going under the hammer on the auction table.

In tennis, where teamwork comes in handy in only a handful of tournaments, the feeling of camaraderie among players is a rare thing. Right from the beginning of one’s career, s/he is focused only on improving one’s own game. Anything and everything that surrounds the game is focused on individuals. It’s a very lonely life, especially at the junior level, where you are on your own most of the time, whether traveling, training or competing.

“The feeling of being a part of a team is important for players who are otherwise focused only on improving their own skills,” said MSLTA secretary Sundar Iyer.

The ongoing Rebound Mumbai Open Junior Tennis League, where players from various academies have been clubbed into different teams, has brought in an added sense of pride for the young guns. “It feels good to be a part of a team. Earlier, we used to play against one another but now, we cheer for each other’s victories. It’s very exciting to find my friends cheering for me,” said Arjun Chatterjee (Under 12) who is part of the Flying Hawks team that leads the table. His father, Siddhartha Chatterjee, was elated to see his son’s mentality change as the tournament progressed. “The format of the tournament is really good. From focusing on his game, he now wants to win for his team. This is a fantastic initiative.”

Aryaan Bhatia (Under-14), who was sold at the highest price when the auction took place for the tournament, said: “We had to play against each other all the time. However, now, it’s fun as there are no individual battles being fought. When one of our teammate plays a game, the rest of us shout and cheer against his opponent. The same happens from the other end and the atmosphere is electrifying.” Aryaan has drubbed his opponents 6-0, 6-0 in his two games so far. “It’s good to see him handle the crowd pressure, something which is completely new for him, and yet cherish every moment of the tournament. He’s clearly enjoying himself,” said his mother.

Echoing Iyer’s views, Group Drop Flying Hawks owner Gaurav Kapadia said the feeling of being a part of the team was necessary for a player to develop himself. “When you play cricket and football, the emotions of winning and losing are shared among the team members, which isn’t the case when it comes to tennis,” Gaurav said.

However, tournaments are not the association’s only focus. The body will prepare a performance analysis report based on a player’s discipline, attitude, games, etc. and share it with the player and his/her coach. According to Iyer, the report will help the association understand the problems of an individual in a more precise manner and guide them accordingly.

“We will host two men’s Asian Tennis Tour (ATT) events that have been promoted by the Asian Tennis Federation and a $50,000 KPIT ATP Challenger in Pune and four $25,000 women’s events in Pune, Navi Mumbai and Aurangabad,” Iyer added.

First Published: Jul 31, 2016 14:04 IST