System needs to keep churning out new players: Ramesh Krishnan

Led by Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri, India are regularly in contention for a berth in the elite 16-nation World Group.

System needs to keep churning out new players: Ramesh Krishnan

Pune: Tennis legend Ramesh Krishnan is impressed with the consistency shown by India's Davis Cup team in the last few years but wants the system to throw up more players, who can take the side to the next level.

Led by Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri, India are regularly in contention for a berth in the elite 16-nation World Group. They challenged top sides, Serbia (September, 2014) and Czech Republic (September 2015) at home but could not cross the hurdle.

"It's a good effort to get to the play-offs itself because the competition in the Asian zone is tough. We are able to somehow scramble through to play-offs. I think the trick is going to be, get past that hurdle," Krishnan, who was himself India's Davis Cup hero in his heydays, told PTI.

It was Krishnan, who had won the deciding fifth rubber against Australia's Wally Masur to take India into Davis Cup final in 1987. And that was the last time, the team reached Davis Cup finals.

Talking about the way forward, he said, "You need quality singles players. There are four singles points in Davis Cup.

There is no secret to it. They (current players) are working hard and they will keep improving but system has to keep throwing players up."

Krishnan, who beat the then world number one Mats Vilander in the Australian Open first round in 1989, said the improved rankings of Yuki and Saketh Myneni was a good sign but there is still a long way to go.

Yuki has ensured himself at least a few weeks in top-100 and Saketh and Somdev are in the bracket of 160-180.

"That's good news. But we can't rest on this. Work has to keep continuing, you have to keep moving. There is no time to rest," Krishnan, who made three singles Grand Slam quarterfinals (US Open 1981, 1987 and Wimbledon 1986), said.

He himself had touched a career-high singles rank of 23.

Asked if he would like to have a second innings as Davis Cup captain, Krishnan did not seem too keen.

"We have a good Davis cup team and good captain.

Everything is set."

A man of few words, Krishnan made terse statements and left it for others to read between the lines.

Speaking at a workshop for young coaches here, he had said, "human being is a political animal". After the workshop when prodded to elaborate his statement, he simply said it's not worth after so many years.

"Wherever human beings are involved there will be politics. It will be only in the middle of a forest where you will not find any politics," Krishnan said.

Asked if he had had any such experience in his playing days, he refused to recount any instance but gave enough hints there maybe some things that bothered him.

"It's not worth now (discussing). It does not help anybody."

Asked if he could follow the plans he had devised post-retirement, Krishnan said he has no complaints to make.

"Once you retire, life had gone in a certain way for many years and you have to make adjustments. By grace of god things have gone smoothly."

Krishnan says he was not disappointed that his daughters, Gayatri and Nandita, could not take forward the tennis legacy that his family had.

He stepped down as India's Davis Cup captain in 2003 to travel with his daughter. While Gayatri quit after 2006, Nandita stopped playing the next year after being on the junior circuit.

"Children should do what they want to do and what they are capable of doing. I do not agree with this concept of having expectations from your children. They should live their own lives."

Krishnan felt India have a good chance to win a medal at Rio Olympics in mixed doubles but it will be a great challenge for an ageing Leander Paes to win his second medal at the mega event.

"He's talking about one more Olympics but with each passing day it is getting difficult. I am sure he is hoping and we are also hoping for one last push. The only thing is you can prepare yourself well. You never know what will happen. Mixed doubles is the best option," he said.


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