On the heels of “Sundays With Purav”, “Chai With Raja” talks about topics more privy to Indian Tennis. “Chai With Raja” is a 7 part series coming your way to make your next seven Sundays exciting
I have sat in thousands of planes and travelled all over the world through turbulence, delays and lots of strange events. I have been to numerous airports and interacted with a bunch of different airline staff. I have now visited over 75 countries in my career. As experienced a traveller as I am, it gives me no authority whatsoever to be a PILOT or to be working for any airline. Those people are trained extensively to do what they do and every time I sit on a plane, I do not ask the pilot for their license.
This very same formula applies in coaching today. Yes I agree 100 % that some coaches are better than others and that India needs better coaching, however, the one thing we definitely do not need is for them to be coached by the player’s parents. When they are on the court, a parent’s sole responsibility is in accurate delegation and positive reinforcement. The amount of interference is not co-related to your love for the child and in most cases, detrimental to their careers. This is like me telling the pilot how to fly the plane. I am much better off eating my samosa and sleeping on the back seat, as regardless of my inputs, I have to understand I have no control of the take off, turbulence or landing.
Being on the professional tour, what scares me the most is I have seen countless cases at every level of a child/parent relationship going sour due to tennis. This is single handedly my biggest fear in advising any Indian family to try and build a professional tennis player. Yes, of course, there have been successful cases but the odds are definitely not in your favor. If I keep going to the cockpit on every flight, I am sure I would have a chance of providing some valuable information to the pilot, but the problem is that my risk is way higher than my reward and the odds are not in my favour. Trust me parents, for you to make a Top 100 tennis player by solely coaching them, the chances are very very low. You risk losing the friendship with your child in the process and there then becomes a very thin line between the tennis court and home which can lead to trouble.
I do not blame the parents and this unfortunately leads me back to the problem of our junior tennis formula. We, as a nation, are solely focused on winning today rather than playing good tennis and making the athlete for tomorrow. The problem is even the coaches then look at this angle and follow this formula rather than building the player leading to an overall failed system. Numbers prove this as in the last decade we have had several successful world class grand slam juniors and barely one or two have made the transition onto the main grand slam level.
Lastly, I know, trust me I know that all these ATP trophies and National champion trophies look great in the cabinet and nothing succeeds like success. On a personal note all I can say is thank you to my parents for having the knowledge to take a back seat in my tennis and letting me become the person I am, while still supporting me financially and emotionally.
I look at these trophies sometimes and I am fortunate to make a living from tennis however, all I am really proud of and I cherish every single day is the relationship I share with my friends and my family.
We can all make a living from something else but we can never ever replace our family. This, to me, is the real trophy.
Impossible is nothing!