Vastavam web: Basking in the glory of his first Grand Slam title win, Rohan Bopanna says his mixed doubles title triumph at the French Open has strengthened his belief that “one should never give up on dreams”.Bopanna had to wait for 14 years after turning Pro to clinch a Major trophy, the French Open mixed doubles with Gabriela Dabrwoski, and the 37-year-old said it was worth the wait.”Never give up on your dreams. That is something which stands out (in this win),” Bopanna, only the fourth Indian ever to win a Grand Slam, said in an interaction with PTI after meeting Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel.
Mixed doubles is played only at Grand Slams and even considered a side show. Bopanna refused comment on the perception but asserted that to have singles champions, many things need to change in India.However, nothing can be taken away from Bopanna’s achievement since he took up a sport which hardly finds support from corporates in the country and is in the limelight most of the time for wrong reasons.”To get singles champions we need to have a system in place at the grassroots level. We have a very limited support from the Federation (AITA), or Corporates. We need that system to compete with European standards. We still have a long way to go,” he said.
These guys need support from junior level and that is when you create champions.”Bopanna is doing his bit for the sport by bringing in foreign coaches at his academy UK’s Aubrey Barrett and Serbia’s Dragan Bukumirovic.”In a month it does not really help improve much. That’s why I am bringing these coaches, let’s hope the kids make good use of this opportunity, coming this month,” he said.Interestingly, the French Tennis Federation (FFT), which is keen to promote clay court tennis, is also willing to chip in to help Bopanna whose academy has clay courts.Talking about his meeting with Sports Minister Vijay Goel, he said,”I always keep reading that they are doing so much for sports, so it was good to meet him in person. It’s encouraging that they are working on a few things.””He was happy that I have started my tennis academy in Bangalore. Let’s see how the government and the players can come together and help the sport.”