Sunder Raju paused a bit and said: “This probably is the flexion point for tennis in Karnataka.”
The Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association's soft-spoken secretary was just stating the obvious on Monday night as the KSLTA unveiled an ITF calendar of 10 tournaments that will provide more opportunities for Indian players. “There used to be two fallacies when it came to ITF events in the country: 1. Not enough tournaments and 2. Too short a notice. We have overcome these drawbacks through this extensive calendar, which is a first in Indian tennis,” Sunder Raju said.
The State association's ambitious venture will commence with the $10000 ITF Men's Futures at Mandya on May 28.
During the press conference, the Karnataka Minister for Home and Transport R. Ashok, who is also the KSLTA vice-president, disclosed his vision of promoting tennis in corporation schools.
The All India Tennis Association's vice-president Karti Chidambaram also lauded the KSLTA. “Since there are not enough events in India, players are forced to go to Europe to gain those crucial ATP points and that means an annual expenditure of €35000. The KSLTA's move to have 10 tournaments is excellent and from the AITA side we hope to host 30 Futures events in a year,” Karti said.
Meanwhile Zuari Cements will sponsor the Mysore-leg and the entire ITF schedule will be managed by Zygosports.
The schedule: From May 28: ITF Men's Futures, Mandya; June 4: Men, Mysore; June 11: Men, Bangalore; September 10: ITF Women, Bidar; Sept. 17: Women, Gulbarga; October 15: Men, Davangere; Oct. 22: Men, Dharwad; Oct. 29: Men, Belgaum; December 3: Women, Manipal; Dec. 10: Women, Mangalore/Shimoga.