Sunday, July 5, 2009

M. S.Gill Wants Players to Focus on Singles

.Sports Minister M.S. Gill Saturday asked Indian tennis players to concentrate on singles events ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Gill said it is heartening to see a bunch of competent players coming up before the quadrennial event, taking place here Oct 3-14 next year, as he watched the $15,000 Central Bank International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournament final between Yuki Bhambri and Rohan Gajjar at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) complex this morning.

"Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have done great service to Indian tennis but age is a factor that no one can fight. But we have four-five players, who are looking good. (Somdev) Devvarman has suddenly come up, then there is Rohan Bopanna. We are doing every possible effort to help them," Gill said.

"But it is the singles that calls for serious play. Look at Andy Murray, he is still fighting to win his first Grand Slam. So it is not so easy. Doubles events are fine while mixed doubles are fun."

Gill said the sports ministry will extend all support to the All India Tennis Association (AITA).

"The money for the tournament is coming from the government and I have requested the Central Bank to increase the prize money for the next ITF tournament and they have agreed."

Asked if the construction of the tennis stadium for the Commonwealth Games is running behind the schedule, Gill said: "There is still plenty of time for it. December is the deadline but it can stretch to three-four in January. It will be ready on time."