Pune: In order to develop tennis in the country, India great Leander Paes said that the sport needs to have people like former cricketer Rahul Dravid and former badminton player Pullela Gopichand, who have helped in producing young talent in their respective sports after retiring.
Talking on the sidelines of the third edition of the Maharashtra Open, Paes said, “If I look at some of past players of India who I have tremendous respect for, there are players like Rahul Dravid, Pullela Gopichand who have trained younger generation to the highest level.”
Gopichand, who won the All England title in 2001 despite lack of resources, has transitioned into a successfull coaching career and produced two Olympic medallists for the country. Former India captain Dravid on the other hand has been doing a tremendous job in nurturing young Indian talent in cricket post his retirement.
“We really need to reinvent tennis because competition for sport in India is huge now with all the leagues, not just IPL. Table Tennis, boxing, wrestling, badminton, Kabaddi are becoming huge in our country,” said Paes. “Tennis in India needs an energised injection to be infused. We need to attract lot more kids. Nowadays so many distractions are there for them and sport and tennis is a great way to channelise them,” he added.
Eight-time Grand Slam doubles champion Paes, who partnered with Matthew Ebden at the Maharashtra Open, lost in the men’s doubles quarter-finals to Ramkumar Ramanathan and Purav Raja. Paes, who announced in January that he will be retiring after the 2020 season, heaped praise on Ramanathan-Raja for their performance. “They were playing amazingly well with 85 percent first serve win. That was unbelievable. They were on a roll, everything they touched there was gold,” he said. IANS