By- Lifestyle Food
Asians are good at many sports but not tennis! Haven’t we all wondered at least once about this? Well, we too have been wondering about for a good chunk of time now. So we are going to give it to you from the horse’s mouth. Abhay Sharma and Chetan Ranganath are here with us and their perspectives are quite astounding. Read on to know more!
“Tennis though invented in Europe around the 16 th century but was popularised by the British with the introduction of the most prestigious Tennis tournament in the world Wimbledon!!”
Tennis as a game has come a long way from being played on clay and grass surfaces with wooden racquets to synthetic courts made-up of, har tru clay, red clay, grass, indoor carpet and graphite racquets. But Asian tennis experienced a “boom” in the 1970s and remained very popular afterwards; from professional players were not allowed to compete in any of the four Grand Slam tournaments, nor in Davis Cup play to the first time the sport’s most prestigious events were made available for the public to watch, starting a new wave of interest among the commoners rather than just the country club set.
We discussed all this and more in a chat with Professional Tennis instructors Abhay Sharma and Chetan Ranganath. Here are the excerpts from our conversation:
Abhay Sharma’s insight ( Former Professional Tennis instructor at Julian Krinsky USA & Elitennis academy, Castedefels, Spain.Head Coach at ASTA, Magarpatta, Pune )
- Culture : A lack of mixture of culture and family values is responsible for that. Of course in lieu of an inherent tennis culture, you can always adopt one just like the Australians. (The Australian Open now bills itself as the “Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific,” )
- Infrastructure : In India, the biggest problems are cost, lack of facilities and the sports culture. Tennis is mainly restricted to tier 1 cities in India. It’s very tough to find a decent tennis court in most of the tier 2 cities. Even in tier 1 cities, not everyone can afford it.
- Fancy sport: Availability of tennis courts (public or private) – Unlike cricket, tennis cannot be played anywhere, it needs proper courts where surfaces are nicely done to play. There are courts available in schools but they are not easily accessible. A dearth for adequate courts to play makes tennis a very expensive sport when compared to badminton.
- Skills: In tennis it is so important to have psychological preparation, nutrition and of course physical preparation. I agree that other continents are more successful but it’s because tennis was firstly developed in those areas. You have to identify the most efficient ways of playing each sport, undergo psychological training and physical training to be skillful player.
“Europeans and South Americans were always successful on the clay where the server takes a backseat and long rallies and endurance matter most.”
Chetan Ranganath’s insight (Former Professional Tennis instructor at Medford, New Jersey, USA and Penang, Malaysia)
- Playing surface: The performances of players have suited to different surfaces depending on their game styles. Serve is the single most important shot in the game which ensures in giving a player a long career. If we look at the people dominating tennis through history, we can see that Australians, Americans and Europeans have had the monopoly when it comes to achievements in this game.
- Confusion: Tennis requires accuracy, agility, power, spin, and several other traits. Also, it is unreasonable to lump together all racquet sports together. Just because you are good at one does not mean you will be good at another.
- Endurance: The reason why Asians are successful in all racquet sports apart from tennis is that the serve in tennis is an overhead stroke, whereas in badminton and table tennis it’s an underarm stroke. The other reason is that tennis has evolved from being a game of skill to a game Of power and endurance.
- Height matters: This lack of Asian achievements is due to the average height of the Asians which is around 5 ft 5 inches. If it is observed all or most men’s grand slam champions from 1990 to now are of the height between 6 feet to 6 feet 4 inches. This is the optimal height where a player can have the best serve as well as movement. There are great servers above the height of 6 feet 5 inches but haven’t tasted success at grand slam level.
- Popularity: Tennis, is one of the top five sports in the world in terms of both fans and participants, but was not as popular in Asia until the last decade or two. It is worth noting that since this increase in popularity, Asia has also produced more top level tennis players than it ever had before, and that number appears to be increasing along with the sport’s increased popularity there.