Tennis legend Vijay Amritraj, who has been nominated for the Dhyan Chand award, is keen to use the honour as ‘impetus to achieve more for the country’.
“When recognised by the country, or the association (AITA), I don’t look at it as just a pat on the back. I see it as impetus to achieve more for the country,” Amritraj said in Bangalore on Saturday.
Amritraj, who reached a career-high singles ranking of 16 during a stellar career, which lasted 23 years, recalled how he entered each ‘stage’ in his life with renewed hope and ambition. “There was a stage when playing tennis meant everything in my life; that was one segment.
Then, I moved on, and I wanted to become the best television broadcaster in the world. “Then, I got involved with my charity work, and the Vijay Amritraj foundation. I’ve always felt the need to do more in different stages of life. So, I feel like this nomination is another godsend to help me do more,” the 59-year-old said.
Always dapper and affable, Amritraj was at the Sadashivanagar Club, for the prize distribution ceremony of the Karle Infra ATF junior tennis tournament.
Asked about the IPL-style International Premier Tennis League conceptualised by doubles veteran Mahesh Bhupathi, Amritraj replied: “I’m not aware of all the intricacies involved, but I have always encouraged getting high quality players to India. It can be used to raise the profile of the sport in India, like we do with the Chennai Open. However, at what price can we achieve this? For example, can we afford to pay a Roger Federer say two or three million dollars to play a tournament here? I think he would do it if he was offered that money, but who will step up and pay him? Tennis in India does not have the big viewership of the IPL, so we cannot expect the big sponsors. I do not know what the correct business model is yet,” he said.