Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Ten Indian players, led by the reigning National champion V.M. Ranjeet, are ready to reap the rewards of a four-week training stint at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Centre in Florida.

Funded by the Union Sports Ministry as part of the preparation of the Commonwealth Games in 2010, the Indian players had a fruitful stint at Bollettieri’s.

“We had tough training. I got to hit with Max Mirnyi and a couple of Canadian players. We had the opportunity to watch players like Tommy Haas, Kei Nishikori, Radek Stepanek etc. in training, which was a big learning experience,” said Ranjeet.

The original plan was to train for eight weeks, but by the time the Government approval came, the programme had to be cut down to four weeks, as the players had to return for tournaments at home in Chandigarh and Kolkata.

“I think four weeks was ideal. We rested for a week on return and are ready to compete in the Futures events in Chandigarh and Kolkata over the next fortnight. Eight weeks could have been physically draining to train at this time of the season,” observed Ranjeet.

Ashutosh Singh, Divij Sharan, Vivek Shokeen, Vishnu Vardhan, Vijayant Malik, Ronak Manuja, Navdeep Singh, Sriram Balaji and Abhijeet Tiwari were the others.

While most of the players would be busy with the tournaments at home, former National champion Ashutosh Singh has opted to compete in Challenger tournaments in Thailand.

Coach Arun Kumar accompanied the players and praised the quality programme as much as the infrastructure.

“The physical training was very good, and our players got to practise with different players. Nick Bollettieri made it a point to be with us in the morning session almost every day,” said Arun Kumar.

“It is a fabulous facility with 56 courts. It was six hours of tennis and two hours of physical training a day. Most of our players trained for five days and rested for two days in a week,” said the coach.

Ranjeet felt that it was a good beginning and hoped that the Government would continue to support the players to compete in tournaments too.

The women players who left later are scheduled to return by the end of the month.

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