“Sundays with Purav” is a 11 part series in collaboration with our very own, Purav Raja. Through his first hand experience of competing on the ATP Tour, Purav aims to educate Indian tennis parents, fans, and community, in general, about what our country needs to do to be called a sporting nation

Did you know Andy Roddick did not taste his wedding cake? Did you know Thomas Muster practised in a wheelchair for 6 months as he recovered from a brutal car accident? Did you also know that Pete Sampras supposedly ate boiled chicken and pasta plain, for 11 years, during his playing career.

I feel like a lot of our country is interested in dreaming and very few actually make these sacrifices. Does it really matter now if your child has to play two hours more on Saturday in the blistering heat to compete against the Roddick’s Muster’s and Sampras’ of the world?

A lot of us have created this indian dream that our child can be a Harvard graduate along with being a top doctor/lawyer and a world class athlete at the same time, just because he is talented. I will go ahead and burst this dream too by simply saying there is NO WAY any human being can achieve the highest level in both of these ridiculously tough professions at the same time.

People say I am averagely talented and I can still go on to tell you that talent is the most overrated asset to possess in sport. Talent builds an ego and beyond a certain point, it is attitude that takes you the very top. Extreme hard work along with this right attitude builds world class sporting icons.

Another major concern for me is the lack of quality coaching we have in our country today, apart from cricket, maybe. We simply cannot produce any sportsmen consistently as we do not have the consistency in coaching required in any major sport to take a young athlete from the bottom to the very top. This maybe due to the fact that no one knows what it takes as nobody has played at that level before. However, this cannot be an excuse for our failure.

If this is the case, we should go ahead and have a grading system and have courses that are run by the very top foreign coaches in every sport. Each Indian coach has to earn a recognized qualification certificate to entitle him to demand a wage and work with any level of players on a salaried basis, just like a doctor or lawyer. I cannot be a judge without having a law degree.

We can buy all this science, so let’s go ahead and build a system like France – England and the United States. That will not only benefit our players but more importantly our coaches.

I find all coaches right from the very bottom currently, even in our primary school & physical education classes, not knowing much at all and expecting to produce this world class athlete. It simply does not happen. Zero multiplied by zero unfortunately equals zero.

I will end with a positive note and go on to tell you guys that we have the ability of being a world class sporting nation and these are the dreams(30 medals in Olympics 2030 or india being in a footballing World Cup) that will give our country the prestige it truly deserves. A few bad habits thrown out and the world is your oyster(if you have the money.)

Impossible is nothing 🙂

Thank you,
Purav Raja

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