‘We could see an Indian winning the junior French Open title soon’
French Tennis Federation director (development) Samuel Primaut believes that an Indian could win the junior French Open title soon.tennis Updated: May 28, 2017 16:41 IST
The French Tennis Federation (FFT) has big plans to expand its support to various countries including India to promote and support clay-court development and include coaching initiatives for helping young players.
As the two Indians -- 14 year-old Malika Marathe and 17-year-old Abhimanyu Vannemreddy slugged out in the Rendezvous Roland Garros playoff event on Day 1 for the coveted wildcard for the main draw, FFT director (development) Samuel Primaut explained the federation’s plans for expansion.
Q: How has been your experience organising this event in six countries, and are there any plans to expand?
A: Right now, the plan is to focus on these six countries only i.e. India, China, South Korea, Japan, Brazil and USA. We would like to extend more support to the associations in terms to building courts and coaching. USA has been the latest addition and we are happy with the response.
Q: What are your plans for India?
A: If I take India as an example, we would like to help in the development of more clay courts and, maybe, also have clinics for both coaches and players. We would now like not to expand to new countries but try to host top players from these countries here in our National Tennis Centre or send some good coach from here for a week or month to train players.
Q: Can you elaborate what exactly you have in mind for India?
A: We would like to add more qualifiers events, maybe 2-3 years down the line. This time, we had one in Pune and Kolkata and the final was held in Delhi. Maybe, we can have a circuit or something working there, where more players get the opportunity and at the same time promote the game. We have had varied responses, like in Brazil this event is on the calendar of most players. In India, we have found huge support and are trying to expand. We are in discussion with Rohan Bopanna…we are looking at coaching or developing a training programme with him. But all this is in planning stage… we would be more than happy to help.
Q: What can India do to expand the game?
A: If I were given a free hand, I would like to introduce the game to kids so that the sport is picked up early. Maybe have few mini courts and tie up with schools so that the game gets at the grassroots. The second step would be to involve colleges and construct more courts so that the general public has easy access. Then another thing that India needs to do is to identify players and set up a programme for their training and monitor their progress. China and India are progressing well. Maybe, in the next few years we might have a player from India winning the junior French Open title.