“The goal is to have Manas play and lose a lot for the next 2 yrs” – Olivier Van Lindonk, IMG on the plan for Manas Dhamne

Manas Dhamne has risen to prominence in Indian Tennis since 2019 when he won the Eddie Herr U12 Singles title. For a nation starving for sponsors in Indian Tennis, IMG has come as a boon to Indian Tennis by taking the responsibility of funding and managing the Tennis journey of our precious talent. 

Olivier Van Lindonk, Senior Vice-President of IMG Tennis, has been managing several top players including the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Kei Nishikori and so on. As Manas won his R1 match at the Australian Open Boys Singles, Olivier took time to speak to Indian Tennis Daily

What is the goal for 2023 – Is it to have him play all the Jr Grand Slams?

The main goal is to have Manas play and lose a lot. The Futures Circuit is tough. As a 15 year old, Manas will have to play against guys who are in their 20s who are surviving and grinding it out there. So the goal for the next two years is to have Manas compete against these players and learn the ropes on the Futures and Challengers (if he can progress to that level). 

If you look at all the players that made it big. Look at Jannik Sinner, Daniil Medvedev, Alcaraz and so on – they all did the same. 

Yes they played a couple of junior slams to get the exposure but then you move on to playing in these little towns all over the world on the Futures Circuit where you have not more than 4-5 people watching you at the venues. That’s where the champions get made. It is not the sexy way but these days, it is the only way that top players make it. This is also going to help Manas Dhamne become the most mentally tough. 

I say this with a smile but as a journalist I hope you do not hear much about Manas for the next two years as that means he is grinding it out on the Futures circuit. 

Nobody cares about talent anymore. We all have seen highly talented juniors not making it on the pro tour. 

Manas Dhamne in action at the Australian Open

How will you plan out the schedule?

We will review it every couple of months at a time based on how he is faring on the futures circuit. If we get some Challenger opportunities, we will take them. We will plan the schedule in blocks of 2-3 months. 

Any specifics around the mental conditioning aspects?

This is where the Piatti Tennis Center comes in. They take care of everything to do with his physical and mental conditioning. They have so much experience around this. They have all the experts in the domain right there in Bordighera, Italy. 

Are there any other Indian players that IMG is invested in?

At this age, Manas Dhamne is the only one right now. The goal is also not to put too much pressure on Manas. Let him be free. He is still only 15 yrs old. 

Back in the day, we had players like Tommy Haas who were able to make it to top-100 by playing just 8 tournaments. Those days are over. 

Now-a-days you are grinding and working through things. That’s what we are preparing Manas Dhamne for and that is what he has to do. 

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