India lacks good coaches and system to nurture talent: Bhupathi

Kochi, Feb 1 (UNI) Ace tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi today rued that India lacked proper system and good coaches to nurture and train young tennis players.

Speaking to reporters before attending a clinic organised by Regional Sports Centre and Mahesh Bhupathi Tennis Academy (MBTA) here, Bhupathi said '' most of the countries like France, US, Spain, Switzerland and Germany had a proper system chalked out by their governments to develop tennis in their countries.'' Merely setting up academies would not produce tennis players of the calibre of Sania Mirza.

But there is an urgent need to have good qualified coaches, he said.

Asked about the recent allegations of match-fixing in tennis, Bhupathi said match-fixing was not good for any sport as it would have a negative impact on the game.

''It is very difficult to stop match-fixing, if any, and the authorities were looking deeply into it,'' he noted.

On India's medal chances in the men's doubles event in the Beijing Olympics, where he partners Leander Paes again, Bhupathi said '' we have great chances as we are one of the top five teams of the world.'' On the defeat in the Australian Open mixed doubles final, Bhupathi said '' we were unlucky as Sania had a hamstring injury and we couldn't perform well.'' As part of the MBTA's plan to start an advanced level programme for producing national and international players, the academy had roped in Bobby Mahal of Canada to introduce the latest tennis teaching, '' progressive tennis'', for children in the age group of five to nine years in its ten centres in the country, Bhupathi said.

In an effort to have more interaction with tennis playing children, the Academy also had a proposal to bring in eight top tennis players of the country including Sania through its 'Dhoom Tennis' programme.


Story first published: Friday, February 1, 2008, 18:40 [IST]
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