Can Indian Middle Class players afford sports like Tennis?

India is the second populated country in Worldwide. India has produced many world-renowned Scientists, Engineers, Theologians, Authors etc., But not many in sports?

What is lacking? Are there not enough coaches to mentor our sportspersons? Are sports treated as a secondary option by many?

I had a chance encounter with one of the Ex-Tennis players from India. He was an International Player from India who was once ranked 158 in ITF – U18. Here is a small excerpt from the Interview with Mr. Ravi Krishna:

Interviewer: Hello Ravi Krishna, it is a pleasure meeting you today.
Ravi Krishna: Thank You, same here!

Interviewer: What made you choose tennis as a sports activity?
Ravi Krishna: choosing tennis was a pure coincidence. My parents were working back then. I used to come early from school and spend the rest of my evening at my Dad’s office. One of my Dad’s friend advised him to put me into a Tennis academy nearby. That way I joined Tennis and got coached by Mr. Raman Ganesh

Interviewer: It seems that you were playing very well and were at the peak of your career.
Ravi Krishna: Yes, I was indeed playing very well. Coming from no sports background and zero affinity towards tennis, it indeed was a significant accomplishment for Ganesh Sir to turn me into an international player ranked 158 in ITF junior(U18) by the age of 16. Raman Ganesh Sir even secured sponsorships for me and I traveled to a few countries as well.

Interviewer: What made you quit tennis?
Ravi Krishna: Sports in India is always looked upon as a second career option. I was almost very keen in pursuing sports as my professional career option, considering I was playing very well then. But peer pressure, lack of proper awareness in sports as a career and influence by parents took me in a different direction. My parents felt that I should pursue academics. So was the case with many of my friends.

Interviewer: As you were pursuing your academics, did you use your sportsmanship to secure a job or course? Did your rankings in International games help?
Ravi Krishna: I never used my sports rankings in securing a seat under sports quota. However, during my MBA days, for one of the committee positions, the organizers were looking for someone with a sports background. That was one time when I used my sports activity as a reference. Coming to my friends, few of them were able to secure decent jobs in ONGC and GAIL under sports quota.

Interviewer: When you visited other countries to play tournaments, did you feel that your opponents were better trained?
Ravi Krishna: No, Absolutely not! India was much better trained than a few of the countries. However, I feel, India should conduct more tournaments in a year, so the players can improve their International Rankings. Since not many tournaments are held in India, players have to travel to other countries. India’s aspiring players mostly come from the middle-class background. Finding sponsors for International Travel or affording them on their own becomes difficult. If the government can give the aspiring players a lending hand, we can be sure that many more players would come forward to represent India in International sports.

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