Former Indian tennis player Vijay Amritraj has mentioned that India will have to focus on developing efficient singles players if they want to excel in the Davis Cup. India's recent 0-4 loss to Serbia in the Davis World Group Play-off tie highlighted the need of strong singles players.
Despite appreciating Ramkumar Ramanathan and Yuki Bhambri's skills on the court, Amritraj feels that the duo will need to work on their physical fitness to develop further. As for now, he said India requires four singles players to qualify in the elite group.
“The focus has to be on singles for India. We need four good singles players. There is no point just having good doubles players. Since we do not have enough number of good singles players, we are not being able to qualify for the elite group,” Amritraj told PTI.
“Yuki has done well well. The problem is that he is not able to play a full year yet. He is not fit enough to play a full season, which is a worry. He needs to work on his fitness. Similarly, Ramkumar did well in some tournaments, reached the final at Newport, but needs to be a lot fitter."
India will participate in a qualifying event in February next year, with a total of 24 teams for a place in the Davis Cup finals. With the new changes to be introduced in the Davis Cup format, Amritraj said that the tournament needed a reformation.
“I know that the expectations will be high. Tennis in the country needs a fillip for a better standard. Our team will do its best in that direction. Concrete plans will be firmed up shortly,” he said.
“There is growing interest for tennis not just in Chennai but in the districts too. We have to take the sport forward and unearth more talent. I wish to have more tournaments and importantly produce more singles players,” Amritraj added.
He commented on his decision to take up the top job in TNTA. As the ATP tournament was moved out to Pune, many fans were disappointed with the fact that the tournament was moving out of Chennai. However, Amritraj said that he'll try to look into the whole matter.
“Not at all... I
“I mean we have to look at the options. Pune is hosting the ATP tournament now. We have to consider many things. Economics, logistics and calendar. Probably a WTA event, as India isn’t hosting one right now.
“Currently there are 17-18 kids at the TNTA academy. There is a need to have a centre of excellence. We need to look at certain priorities and plan certain programmes,” he added.