Coimbatore: India has to run all sports professionally like cricket if the nation wants to be a global leader in various games, Olympian and former tennis star Nirupama Vaidyanathan said here on Friday.
"Unless and until we treat sports professionally like cricket, there is a remote possibility of India becoming a global leader in sports," she said.
"We do not recognise other sports like cricket. The minute we start thinking and treating other sports professionally, India will move up the ladder," she said while replying to a query on the status of sports in India at a session organised by local chapter of Indian Women Network of CII here.
Nirupama said that federations and associations should play a major role in the uplifting various sports.
Nirupama alleged that All India Tennis Association (AITA) did nothing to improve the game despite there being so much potential.
"AITA is doing nothing for the improvement of tennis. We need leaders to take sports to the highest peak."
On starting a tennis academy in India, Nirupama, who runs one in California, said she was seriously contemplating starting something here.
"I want to do some thing for Tamil Nadu and Coimbatore particularly and I will definitely start something. It is in my mind."
Asked what she felt about present day tennis, Nirupama said during her playing days, they did not play for money but because they liked sports.
"I was surprised when I got Rs 950 for a game as did not know we get money for playing," she reminisced.