Pune, February 7: In order to develop tennis in the country, India great Leander Paes urged that sport needs to have people like Rahul Dravid and Pullela Gopichand, who has done an excellent job in producing young talent in their respective sports.
Talking on the sidelines of the third edition of Tata Open Maharashtra, 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 a younger generation to the highest level."
Gopichand, who won the All England title in 2001 despite lack of resources, has currently not only been nurturing badminton talent but also has produced two Olympic medallists for the country. While former India former captain Dravid has been doing a tremendous job in nurturing young Indian talent in cricket post his retirement.
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"We've got to take it one match at a time. That's what sport has taught me." 📹 | Here's what Leander Paes had to say ahead of his last @ATPTour match at #TOM2020 🎾 #AdvantagePune #TataOpenMaharashtra #ATPTour @leanderpaes #OneLastRoar
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The veteran feels the tennis has to be reinvented like other sports to attract more kids and said the competition is huge with the league such as IPL, Premier Badminton League, Ultimate Table Tennis.
"We really need to reinvent tennis because competition for sport in India is huge now with all the league, not just IPL. Table Tennis, boxing, wrestling, badminton, Kabaddi becoming huge in our country," Paes, who made his last appearance in Tata Open Maharashtra said. The ace Indian is on his 'one last roar' tour this season.
"Tennis in India needs an energised injection to be infused. We need to attract a lot more kids. Now days so many distractions are there for them and Sport and Tennis is a great way to channelise them," he added.
The eight-time Grand Slam doubles champion Paes, who partnered with Matthew Ebden, suffered defeat in the doubles quarter-finals against Indian pair of Ramkumar Ramanathan and Purav Raja in Tata Open Maharashtra, which is organised by Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) in association with Government of Maharashtra at Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium here on Thursday (February 6). Paes heaped praises for Ramanathan-Raja for their performance.
"They were playing amazingly well with 85 per cent first serve win. That was unbelievable. They were on role, everything they touched there was gold," Paes concluded.
Source: Media Release