New league will help find India's singles talent: Amritraj

Thu Oct 8, 2015 5:53am EDT
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By Sudipto Ganguly

MUMBAI (Reuters) - The franchise-based Champions Tennis League, which will begin its second season next month, will help end India's search for quality singles players, its promoter and former Davis Cupper Vijay Amritraj said.

Cricket lords over all other sports in India and the country of 1.2 billion has no men or women singles player in the top 100 while its players are world beaters in doubles.

Leander Paes, 42, has eight doubles grand slam title to go with nine in mixed doubles, while Sania Mirza, once a top-30 singles player, is currently the number one women's doubles player.

Amritraj lauded Mirza, who won this year's Wimbledon and U.S. Open women's doubles titles with Martina Hingis, as an "inspiration" but reminded singles was the real deal.

"At the moment we are not good enough," Amritraj, famous for nearly beating Bjorn Borg at Wimbledon in 1979 and later appearing in a James Bond movie, told Reuters in an interview.

"As far as doubles is concerned, it's a great way to lengthen your career if you want to keep playing the sport and not do anything else," added the former Davis Cup finalist.

Amritraj expects CTL, scheduled this year between Nov. 23-Dec. 6, to help India unearth singles talents.

Each of the six franchises features an international male and female player, a 'legend', an Indian male player and a junior boy and a girl.   Continued...

Veteran Indian tennis star Vijay Amritraj in Bombay, February 14, 2001. REUTERS/Files