Despite the growing commercialisation of the sport of tennis, coach Ganesh Raman is confident that making the game affordable will generate champions with a hunger to excel.
Watching one of his players in the ongoing ITF tournament at the Tennis Project, the seasoned coach from Hyderabad, who trained Sania Mirza for five years in two spells before and after her stardom, felt that India’s female tennis players had the potential to make it big.
ALSO READ – Berrettini out of Wimbledon after testing positive for COVID-19
“Most of the coaching is constantly focused on tuning technique. After a point, the game is more mental. We need to build a players’ self-esteem, self-confidence and self-belief. If we do that, they would win even without the best technique,” opined the soft-spoken Raman.
After working on sand/clay courts over the years, and availing of the synthetic courts on temporary basis whenever required, Raman has got into a ‘dream project’ to have two synthetic courts and four clay courts at one place. “We have got 1.25 acres of land on a 10-year lease. The project of building the courts would cost about ₹44 lakh. We have raised ₹18 lakhs so far through donations, including ₹10 lakh from NRIVA, a U.S.-based company,” said Raman.
A bunch of talented girls, determined to make the breakthrough, Niditra Rajmohan, Smriti Bhasin, Paavanii Paathak, Chandana Potugari and Shria Atturu are training with Raman.
Letting his wife to take care of three batches with lots of trainees, Raman focuses on the core group, and helps them with total attention. “We intend to have about eight girls in 10-11 age group. We will train them in the best possible way for about eight years. Sania Mirza could reach up to No. 27 in singles and win so many Grand Slams in doubles and mixed doubles. We are still searching for a second player to break into top-100. I want to see at least six Indians in the top-100 of WTA ranking in the next 10 years,” said Raman, confident that he would play his role to accomplish the goal.
Raman was very happy about Indian players benefiting from a series of tournaments at home.
“We need a lot of competition,” said Raman, stressing the point that the players would improve their quality by competing against strong players.