Interview by: Dhruv Kanal | Report by: Abhijeet Dangat
Peter Burwash International (PBI) has announced its partnership with select Ileseum Clubs in Pune, India. The reputed PBI program has delivered world-class training services to hone world-class talent. With the partnership, Punekars receive access to a globally renowned tennis program delivered by internationally recognized coaches.
The program caters to all types of individuals, ranging from youth development to adult programming. PBI is currently leading the charge of the next-gen talent of Indian tennis with players like Sahaja Yamalapalli and Rishi Reddy. Players like Leander Paes, Andy Roddick, Sanchez Vicario, and Abigail Spears have also been associated with PBI. The launch was co-announced by René Zondag (PBI President), Cesar Morales (PBI India Technical Director), Milos Milunovic (PBI Pune Technical Director), and Gurpavit Singh (Founder, Ileseum Clubs).
With the recent announcement, Indian Tennis Daily (ITD) sat down with coach Cesar Morales. Excerpts of the conversation below:
1. Thoughts on the opening of PBI in Pune.
We’re super excited about the recent launch in Pune. I see so much potential with this new milestone and anticipate this centre making the tennis ecosystem even stronger. The type of passion, love and most importantly hunger that I’ve witnessed in India is unparalleled. So, having another brand of PBI in Pune is exhilarating! Additionally, the partnership with Pavit (Founder of Ileseum clubs) is another step to develop the sport and make it reach greater heights. The level of education is extremely elevated in Pune and the climate, people, and environment are just beautiful which are bonuses for us. The more we share the love for tennis with everybody, the better for the whole tennis industry, not just Pune or India, but the whole world.
2. Tell us about the facility in Pune.
The facility in Pune is unique, with over 12.5 acres of world-class sports infrastructure. It boasts all the necessary world-class infrastructure requirements to execute a successful PBI program, from multiple courts to training facilities, strength and conditioning facilities, swimming pools, therapy, recovery rooms, and sports science teams. We currently have three tennis courts, and we plan to finish another four by next year.
3. You launched yesterday, and you’re already holding coaching workshops.
Yes, it’s continuous, almost like a tennis calendar. We talk about all the players and how learning and training is an everyday thing – this is exactly what we look for inward coaches. Whether it’s coaches for pro players, children, or even newcomers – coaches are coaches at the end.
It is our job to make sure that the standards are raised not just in India, but all across the world. If we’re able to share that education and knowledge with people and they’re able to obtain it (PBI or not), the industry standards are going to go up, and who benefits? The player.
4. Moving on to Bangalore – how many players do you have in there? How’s the development going there?
We started with 65 and we’re right below 200 in a year. One thing that we’ve taken pride in is sharing the information with the coaches. We have a great system where we all speak the same language. Now we all have our own style of communicating, but the philosophy is all the same, and that’s going to be the same in Pune. This well-oiled machine is what makes it grow extremely fast. As I said, we are pushing something that’s already going really fast. That’s the hunger of the people to learn a great sport and, hopefully, to be great at it.
5. What’s the age group that you have that you usually have?
Everybody. This is for everybody! We have pro players, but the pool players come from the grassroots program. I’m very proud of players like Sahaja – she’s been ranked 989 in the world and today we’re right at 450. 500 spots in one year? But, and I always say this, I’m very proud of not only her but our program.
6. Thoughts on the GPTCA course in India where you’re speaking?
I’m super excited for a couple of reasons. Not just GPTCA but we’ve done some PTR stuff as well. We are coaching coaches. Anytime you see people that want to learn and continue their education, it’s extremely motivating because we can share that information. It’s like a domino effect. You share with one another, and it goes to other people, coaches, and organizations.
The other aspect that I’m very proud of and fortunate is that I’m going to play it. So for the coaches to see that we can do this here in India, an incredible country with incredible potential. And, it’s quite evident with the results we’ve shown. I would definitely like to encourage people to join us and then take that information or take those ideas and keep growing this great sport.
[GPTCA B&C level course will take place at PBI centre in Bangalore from 31 March to 2 April 2023. A coach can sign up for the course by writing to email@example.com.]
7. What do you love about Bangalore? Is it the dosas?
Do you know what I love? I love the 78 by 36 inches in the middle, and 42 in the outsides. I love the tennis courts. At the end of the day, I’m a tennis coach and that’s where I spend my days and nights. That’s pretty much all I think all day, all night.
PBI and Ileseum clubs have already signed three more Ileseum club locations in Pune with the Solitaire Group and are exploring expansion into several new club projects in Mumbai, Solapur, and Chennai.
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