Training & Knowledge / / 13 July, 2017
How to become a Lawn Tennis player in India?
Does your child have Lawn Tennis instinct? Does he want to become a professional Tennis player & want to compete against the best in the world? But you don't know where to start, then you are at the right place. From his first step to the giant leap towards the ATP World Tour, here is the complete guide that will help every aspiring Tennis player in India.
A. Choose the school wisely
Most of the Tennis players around the world start playing the Tennis at a very early age. So enrolling your child in a school which provides Tennis practice will help you hit the Bull's eye in laying the foundation of your child's dreams. Moreover, sports and games curriculum has become an integral and compulsory part of the education process. As sports not only help to build character but it also teaches the importance of discipline in life. It inculcates a respect for rules and allows the participants to learn the value of self-control.
B. Enroll in Sports Authority of India's summer sports programs
Every year during the summer vacations, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) conducts a summer sports programs for almost every sport and it also includes Lawn Tennis. So we advise you to enroll in SAI's Tennis program as not only it is less costly than hiring a private coach but the different atmosphere at Sports complex will help in building your ward's character as he will come head to head against some skillful players which he has never faced in his life and it will also help him move out of his comfort zone.
C. Instill the habits and approach of top tennis players in your wards
Teaching the good habits at a young age will benefit your ward not only in Tennis but in every aspect of life. So try to feed him with all the motivational stories and how top players spend their days, how they started and what top players do before and after the practice session and how they indulge in practice and what set them apart from rest of the players and what propels them to the top of the sport. So how do you help your ward in imitating the habits of the greats? Here are some tips-
i. Build a routine: Most of the top players follow a specific routine before a match which helps them focus more on their game. So be hard on yourself and try to master your routine and believe us it will reap wonders for you.
ii. Create your own technique: Every Tennis player in the world is fascinated by Roger Federer's backhand and Rafael Nadal's deadly forehand, so it's only natural that an aspiring Tennis player may try to copy his idol's techniques. But believe us an impressionist may get fame for a short period of time but it never gets you any significant success. So embrace your own approach and try to sharpen your skill level through regular practice and as they say "Practice makes a man perfect".
D. Join a Tennis 10s program
This can be a fun activity for children to learn the basics of Tennis, develop good technique and love for this game. Even International Tennis Federation suggests that every child must start his Tennis career through this program. It is a Tennis program for the players aged 10 and under. It is played on smaller courts with slower red, orange, and green balls.
Using the slower balls help players to develop the most efficient techniques and to be able to implement advanced tactics that in most cases could not be performed using the yellow ball on the full court. For more information on Tennis 10s, click on http://www.tennisplayandstay.com/tennis10s/overview.aspx
2. Step Two- Join All India Tennis Association
After laying the foundations, a young aspiring Tennis player must join the All India Tennis Association (AITA) as early as possible because to compete as a Tennis player in India, you will have to join AITA. Once you are a member of AITA, you will have the opportunity to join and compete in AITA leagues, tournaments and other activities which allow any young player to accumulate points which help him improve his AITA ranking. As your domestic ranking increases, you will move closer to being a successful Tennis player in India which you have always dreamed about.
A. How to Join AITA?
All the players who want to register in AITA must send their application online in a prescribed format. The registration forms are available at AITA website or you can click on the link (http://www.aitatennis.com/uploads/registration_form.pdf) to download the form. The registration fee is Rs. 3,000 and is valid for 3 years. After the registration, AITA will issue a registration card with a registration number. All the players must mention their registration number when sending their entries for tournaments.
NOTE: It is mandatory for a player who is born after 1998, to submit the MCD Certificate as a DOB proof when sending their application to AITA.
Which tournaments to choose-
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) holds various tournaments throughout the year and has divided its structure into four main categories-
1. TS- Talent Series, 2. CS- Championship Series, 3. SS- Super Series, 4. NS- National Series or Nationals
All the players can choose any tournament but it is advised that any amateur player who has no prior experience of playing in any tournament should play in a talent Series or a Championship Series level of tournaments. As the players gain experience and accumulate ranking points, they can aim to play in the tournaments like Super Series and national Series or Nationals. You can also choose AITA's various tournaments that it organizes under different age groups like U-8, U-10 or U-12 before choosing the Super Series or Nationals.
B. Eligibility criteria to join AITA:
There are no specific criteria to register as a player in All India Tennis Association. All you need is a passion and the skills to flourish in the game that you love. However, if you are over-age, you can not play in AITA's certain tournaments like Talent Series, Championship Series, Super Series or National Series which AITA conducts exclusively for different age groups like U-10, U-12 U-14, U-16, and U-18. While the players who have attained the age of 18 years and more can play in AITA's National Championship tournaments where past winners like Vishnu Vardhan still play to become the national champion.
AITA also hosts various tournaments for more senior players and these tournaments have been divided into +35, +45, +55 categories. So as they say "Age is just a number" and there is no specific date to go after your dreams. So rise, awake and stop not till the goal is achieved.
C. Prize distribution at every level in AITA
Indian players are awarded less by AITA at the domestic circuit as compared to the European and United States players who are paid significantly higher by their respective Lawn Tennis Authorities. But the players can start earning as early as 10 years of age through Talent Series and other tournaments and the prize money only gets bigger as a player moves to the different levels of AITA.
Tournament Total Prize Money Winner's share 2nd Place 3rd Place
(Approx) (Approx) (Approx) (Approx)
Talent Series 50,000-1,00,000 7,000-13,000 4,500-9,000 2,500-4,500
Championship Series 1,50,000-2,00,000 19,500-26,000 13,000-18,000 7,200-9,600
Super Series 2,50,000-3,00,000 32,500-39,000 23,000-27,000 12,000-14,500
National Series 3,50,000 & above 46,000 32,000 17,000
Nationals 4,00,000 & above 52,000 36,000 19,000
Note- The readers should understand that the actual prize money may differ at each level of All India Tennis Association.
The above list includes the series or tournaments that only feature the junior players and caters only the following age groups: U-8, U-10, U-12, U-14, U-16, U-18. For National Championship, the total prize money varies from 4,50,000 and above and the winner is awarded accordingly. But recently National Tennis Championship, Fenesta National Championship, has doubled its prize money from Rs 9 Lakhs to a whopping 18 Lakhs.
AITA also organizes tournaments like AITA 50K, AITA 1 Lac, AITA 2 Lac where the tournament is open for all age groups.
3. Step Three- Join ITF Pro Circuit
A. If a player performs well at domestic level or in AITA's tournaments and leagues then the next big step is to register yourself with the ITF Pro Circuit. This is the most important stage in the life of an aspiring Tennis player and all the players go through this stage. Be it past legends like Pete Sampras or the current greats like Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic, all the players sharpen their skills in ITF's future or Challenger tournaments.
How to register?
To play in ITF's Future or Challenger tournaments, a player must register with ITF Pro Circuit to obtain a Pro IPIN membership which is "International Player Identification Number". Just like in AITA, after the successful registration, a player will be given his unique IPIN number which is valid only for one year and the player needs to mention his IPIN number at the time of sending his application for any ITF tournament.
B. Which tournament to choose or the structure of ITF
To help the further growth of Tennis in the world, the International Tennis Federation has divided its structure into various floors based on the age, ranking and the experience level of the players. So all the players are advised to opt only for those tournaments which are most suitable for them as competing against more advanced players may result in a defeat which will cost you some precious ranking points.
The ITF is divided into the following categories:
a. ITF Junior Circuit
The ITF Junior Circuit is the premier level for worldwide competition among under-18 junior Tennis players. The junior circuit is divided into following grades-
Grade A, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5 and Grade B.
The most advanced players in the junior circuit play in the Grade A and subsequently the players who are the starters in the field of Tennis compete in the Grade B. The junior circuit also enjoys computer ranking system and all the players are awarded points when they win any tournament.
b. ITF Men's Circuit
This is where the utter professionalism comes into the life of any Tennis player. After a Tennis player successfully negotiates the junior circuit, he moves to the ITF Men's Circuit which is also known as the Future tournaments. The players are well rewarded in this circuit as the winning purse in the tournaments may vary from $15,000 to $40,000.
c. ATP Challenger Tour
It only gets tougher from here as ATP Challenger Tour is the 2nd level of Professional Mens Tennis and unlike all other levels of men's Tennis, the ATP Challenger Tour is administered by the Association of Tennis Professionals. Even the top players who are well established on ATP World Tour play in this category. The tournaments offer a prize money from $40,000 to $220,000 with the winners are awarded 80 to 125 points.
d. ATP World Tour
This is the top level of professional Men's Tennis and this is where we get our Grand Slam Winners and Masters holders. The prize money at this level starts from $250,000 and may rise to a whopping $8m in the Grand Slams. The players are awarded 250 points to 1500 points.
Note- Unlike Men's Circuit, the Women's circuit only has two levels- WTA Tour and ITF Women's Circuit. All the young players, be it a boy or a girl, play against each other till ITF Junior circuit.
e. Eligibility criteria to join ITF:
Just like AITA, there are no pre-defined conditions to join ITF. But to participate in ITF Junior Circuit, ITF Men's Circuit or Future Tournaments, a player must be below 18 years of age. As you move up the ladder and to compete in ATP Challenger Tour and ATP World Tour, you just need to bear the tournament expenses and the high cost of traveling from one place to another. To sum it up, there are no specific conditions to participate in ATP Challenger and World Tour, you just need good ranking points and a good record on the Tour to get a wild card entry to a prestigious tournament.
f. Prize distribution in ITF Circuit
All the players at ITF Circuit including the junior players are awarded handsomely by ITF.
Level Total Prize Money Winner's share 2nd placed 3rd placed
Men's Circuit $15,000-$25,000 $15,00-$3800 $800-$2,000 $500-$1300
ATP Challenger $40,000-$220,000 $6,000-$33,000 $3,200-$18,000 $2,000-$12,000
Conclusion- The life of an average Tennis player in India remains in doldrums because of the lack of government funding in this sport and the financial insecurity that comes with it. But if you have the talent and if you perform well at National level or AITA's various tournaments then you can still rake in good money. The players like Yuki Bhambri and Vishnu Vardhan are the perfect examples of this who are earning good money despite their failure to impress at the ATP level tournaments.