By Balbir Singh,CHANDIGARH, JAN 27 : Veteran Davis Cupper and experienced international tennis coach Akhar Ali stressed the need to back to the old theory of holding national coaching camps were top players train together. Akhtar Ali, father of former Davis Cup player Zeeshan Ali, is here to provide his valuable guidance to the Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association for further promoting tennis in the city. Pained to see the potential players training at different venues under different system, Akhtar Ali advocated for training in the camps under experienced as well as young coaches. He says “tennis has become a big business. Tennis has made progress but not keeping pace with the development of the game at the international level.”
In an informal chat at the CLTA Stadium in Sector 10, replying to a question on the status of tennis in India, Akthar Ali said
“You see I have been one of coaches who has been working with three generations. Leander Paes is my trainee. I have worked with Ramesh Krishnan, Zeeshan Ali and I was a private coach of Vijay Amritsar. I have worked with all top players of the country. I have produced more national champions and Davis Cup players in the country than any other coach. I have been in Belgium for four and half years. I am very very happy that Belgium has done very well in tennis. I had 30 coaches working with me,. 10-15 years ago. There were 30 coaches working with me to uplift the standard of tennis in Belgium. I am pleased that Belgium has done very well in Tennis. We worked together.”
Commenting on the young player, Akhtar Ali said “I am disappointed with the young players. No young player is coming up. Lot of expectations were there from Yuki Bhambri. But he has not come up to my expectations. Sanam Singh from here is also a talented player I have picked him up. But he too is not physically strong.”
Speaking on the limitations of the players, Akhtar Ali from Kolkata said “ Basically I have seen lot of youngsters fail not because of talent, lack of facilities or lack of ability I have seen them fail as they lack desire to become a champion.”
Regarding the top Indian players, Akhtar Ali said “Let us not talk about Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupatihi. They have done a lot for the Indian tennis. Devvararaman has come up good. But we should look for the second Davis Cup player. There are three players in the doubles, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi. Rohan Boppana is also 30 years old. I am surprised when in India 30-year old player is called a promising young player.”
Akhtar Ali said that the biggest problem in India in his opinion is “ I think is we are too much concentrating on for the junior players only. There are lot of academies which are good for the game bu,t where are the players?
Sharing secret of his success as a coach, Akhtar Ali said “My success as a coach is because I try to keep learning and still I am learning. That is one of the reasons I have been a successful coach. I am confident that I can still produce results because I keep learning. In Indian sport today people are not realizing that physique has become a very big thing. If you do not have a good physique and you do not have talent you are not going to become a top player.”
“Sport has become very physical.. Youngsters are very small and not physically strong. Chandigarh and other cities try to develop programme for physical fitness. In my opinion, wWe must go back to old theory to have coaching camps where the best players train together. The biggest problem is that one player is training here and one player training there. … I have worked in the United State and top tennis academies of the world. Experienced and young coaches must work together.”
“CLTA, other associations and AITA are doing a good job. But Rajan Kashyap (CLTA chief patron) or Anil Khanna (AITA) cannot do physical training for the players. They can only provide you facilities.”
Regarding who will take the initiative, he said “look I am willing to do very thing for tennis. Today, tennis coaching has become a big business. 90 per of the coaches try to work for quick results. The parents want quick results. They are willing to spent lot of money. There is no such thing as quick results in tennis. There is no sixer or four in tennis. You earn a point with one shot. It goes love-all, 15-0, 30-0,40-0 etc. The best shot in the world will bring only one point. We must have a plan to for all coaches to work together for the benefit of the young players and associations. You can learnt from the successful people. A sixth class teacher cannot teach students of higher classes. After doing a two-week short courses, he becomes a coach. Those coaches can be okay for kids but not for the advanced players. If good players get together and share their views, a lot of good things will happen.”
“ We are too much concentrating on youngsters. Once a player attains the age of 18, he starts earning his own money. Associations should not spent money on them as they are earning after becoming professionals. The association can spent money on a player who is knocking at the Davis Cup door. Those Indians who have gone to America they have not emerged top players.,” said Akhtar Ali.
Regarding India inviting foreign players to train the Indian lplayer, Akhtar Ali said “ We talk about foreign coaches. You tell me who trainined Milkha Singh, Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Vishwanath Anand, Rakesh Krishanan, Leander Paes, Zeeshan Ali and others. It is the Indian coaches who have brought them to the top level. Coaching has now become a profession in India. When a foreign cricket coach comes to India, we pay millions of dollars.He will bring an assistant coach. He will have a physio therapist , his own guy. No Indian learnt from them. If we bring a top class world coach, we must ensure that when he leaves, our coaches are ready to take over.”