Bhupathi aims to give India a singles grandslam champ

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Kolkata, Dec 15 (UNI) Indian tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi today said Apollo Tyres and Globosports plans would finish the good work started by the Britannia-Amritraj Academy that had seen several tennis stars coming out of its fold.

Mahesh, along with a panel of experts, today conducted a talent hunt in the city at the Jaidip Mukherjea Tennis Academy, to scout kids for the final selection for 'Mission 2018' that plans to produce a singles Grandslam winner from India.

Talking about the programme, Hemant Kaul, Divisional Head, Corporate Communications, Apollo Tyres, said, ''We plan on pumping in Rs 100 crores over the next 10 years. We will provide all the support necessary for the player to blossom. It will be the expert panel's work to see that the players are produced, who fulfill our dream of winning a Grand Slam singles title.'' The other members in the panel are C G K Bhupathi, Prahlad Srinath, Sandeep Kirtane, Manisha Malhotra, Health Mathews (International physical trainer) and Tony Beecroft (eminent physiotherapist).

Talking about the programme, Mahesh said, ''It is a step in the right direction in establishing the sport and enabling the players to perform at the international level.'' ''The partnership between Apollo and my team, is enabling us to fulfill a dream we have always had to groom talents in India. I am confident that we will do smething good for tennis and this country,'' he said.

''The Britannia-Amritraj academy had began one such project. But they did not go all the way. Still they were instrumental in producing some of the biggest tennis names in the country. We hope to go all the way with the weight and support behind us,'' he said.

Asked about the format of the programme, he said, ''A selected group of players picked on basis of their fitness, tennis intelligence and how they construct points. They will be in a residential camp in Bangalore where they will be groomed by our team of experts.'' ''It also includes playing abroad and getting coaching abroad.

And more importantly it will be a continuous process,'' he added.

The panelist has already spotted 10 players in Bangalore and nine in Mumbai. Kolkata and Delhi will complete the selection.


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