HYDERABAD: The Fateh Maidan Tennis Complex, which was built at a cost of Rs 7 crore for the 2002 National Games, is adjacent to the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh (SAAP). It is the only stadium which is in the heart of the city while others are on the outskirts.
Today, it presents a pathetic picture and it is hard to believe that this very stadium had once hosted the National Games, three World Tennis Association (WTA)tourneys (2003 to 2005) and a Hopman Cup qualifying match (2006) __ the last one to have been played on its centre court. Sania Mirza won the last WTA in 2005.
Some of the top-notch international players, including Martina Navratilova, had played in that tournament. Having burnt its fingers badly, the cash-strapped SAAP allowed the tournament to be taken away to Bangalore. It had reportedly lost $4.75 crore while hosting the tournament in the first two years.
The worn-out synthetic court, bucket seats full of pigeon poop and filth in and around the centre court say it all. After the Hopman Cup match, no major matches have been played on the centre court even though other ITF and, more recently, the Asian Junior Championship were held on the six courts outside the main venue. The synthetic court is already due for replacement as it has only seven years of life.
There is some activity only when Sania Mirza is in the city as she practises on the court or when a player plays on pay and scheme basis.
There are some cracks in some parts of the building too. Holding international tournaments is a costly affair and the AP Lawn Tennis Association (APLTA) has neither the funds nor the ability to bring sponsors to hold any tournament of that nature.
“To be honest, we don’t have the money or sponsors to hold any big tournaments,” admits Ashok Kumar, secretary of APLTA. The SAAP, which is itself struggling to maintain this stadium and other stadia in the city, collects fees under the pay and play scheme on the six courts and the centre court. Former national champion Narendernath runs a clinic on two courts.
Says a former international: “I think this stadium has all the facilities and could be converted into a good training centre if only the government or SAAP in association with APLTA takes more interest. But unfortunately, that is not there. The stadium will continue to rot.”