Former India’s Davis Cup player Zeeshan Ali who also competed at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, shared his views on NTC Player Digvijay Pratap Singh winning his first pro tournament at New Delhi last week, AITAs new calendar till March and how it will help players to get home tournaments and thoughts on young NTC Players and there goals for next season.
Q) Thoughts on Digvijay Pratap Singh winning his first future tournament at New Delhi?
ZA: A very well deserved tournament win for Digvijay. We have been working hard with him at NTC the past few months combining practice, fitness and match play. He has a big game, good physique and the willingness to work hard and absorb instructions. These qualities in a player like Digvijay makes my job as coach easier. There are also a lot of other good men’s players at the NTC with whom players like Digvijay have the option of practicing everyday. This is one of the USP of NTC.
There are 20-25 good junior and men’s players training here at any given point in time. Our fitness trainer Abhimanyu Singh has also been working with not just Digvijay but other NTC players like Karan, Aman and Shivank . All these players have had good results the past few weeks.
Q) AITA has announced organizing 21 Pro tournaments till March including 8 men’s ITF and 4 Challengers. How much does this help for the players to get home tournaments with respect to rankings and also financially ?
ZA: It’s great news not just for the players but for Indian tennis. Having 5 months of tournaments in India gives our players a huge opportunity to get valuable ATP points which will help them after March when they will need to travel abroad. I only wish these tournaments were a little more staggered extending till maybe May or June. We all know that 4 tournaments in a row makes the cutoff a lot higher which doesn’t benefit our players as much. Hopefully in the future we can have a situation where there are even more tournaments and the Indian circuit can become like some countries in Europe where there are ITF and ATP events throughout the year. But having said that, we can already see the benefits of having these events in India with Digvijay winning his 1st Men’s Futures event which will improve his ATP ranking to around 570.
Similarly it’ll help a lot of other Indian players . Getting the first ATP point is always tough and having tournaments in our own country reduces the financial strain and disappointment when travelling out, spending lakhs and not making points. Getting visas is also not easy these days and so staying at home for all these months with the opportunity to play, make points and money is very welcome news indeed. Congratulations to the AITA and the local tennis federations for working towards the betterment of Indian tennis.
Q) NTC Players have done well in the Indian Futures including the New Delhi last week. What are your views on these young players like Karan, Shivank who just scored his first ATP point and also Nitin and Digvijay. What should be their goals for the next season ?
ZA: Yes, NTC players have been doing well even on the Indian circuit with over 70 tournament wins and 56 runners up in the last year and 3 months. These are mostly from under 16,18 and mens events. This was also the second year in a row that an NTC player won the Under 18 Finesta Nationals. Our men’s players have done very well in the Futures which was held in Delhi with Digvijay winning the tournament and Karan reaching the quarters while beating the current National Champion in the second round. Shivank also had a good tournament and got his first ATP point.
Apart from these guys there are a bunch of good men’s players training at NTC which gives players like Digvijay, Karan, , Nitin and Shivank ample variety and players to practice with. All these guys are young and need all the support we can give them. They have a good base in India where they can train and all the infrastructure that is needed is available to them at the NTC. They now need to travel and play more tournaments once the Indian Futures and Challenger circuit gets over in March. They need to continue working on their fitness . We have been working on these aspects and while results are showing, they still need to keep improving and most importantly stay injury free and healthy.