‘India needs Grand Slam champion to inspire singles players’  

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New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) Former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic on Thursday said India needs a top singles tennis star to inspire a generation that will have success in the discipline.

India have multiple Grand Slam doubles champions such as Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza. But currently, India doesn’t have a player in the top-100 in both men’s and women’s singles categories.

“India needs one big singles player. It is a huge country and (that’s why) you don’t need a guy who is top-50. You need top-10 player or a Grand slam champion who will bring the kids’ attention and take them to the tennis court,” Ivanisevic said here.

He is a coach of the HSBC Road to Wimbledon programme that is tasked to “improve Indian junior tennis”.

“Here everybody goes to cricket. But you have good facilities and lot of kids are playing tennism, and I don’t think it is impossible (of producing top singles player).”

Ivanisevic, who was known for his fiery serves in his playing days, was impressed with the Indian talent, especially girls.

“In the last few days, I have been impressed by the talent available here. They have lot of skills but they need to work hard on both mental and physical aspects,” the Croatian said.

“At this level, it is easy but when they grow into the later age, the game is a lot more professional. So, they need to work hard. The girls impressed me a lot and the boys need to wake up and work more.”

The two-time French Open finalist said Indian coaches also need to improve themselves.

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