BENGALURU: In the midst of mixed success on the global tennis stage, India is still searching for a singles player to emulate their doubles success. But to this date, apart from Leander Paes’ bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, India’s singles record has been abysmal.
At the junior level, however, Bengaluru boy Adil Kalyanpur is offering some hope with his much-appreciated performances in singles tournaments. The 16-year-old won the ‘Road to Wimbledon’ title in 2014, and complemented it with five more titles the following year.
In the ‘Road to French Open’ tournament (Rendez-vous a Roland-Garros), he earned a place in the playoffs following his win in the India leg in Delhi. But his journey ended with a loss against Korean Minseom Lim. Yet, his talent didn’t go unnoticed. Carlos Costa, Technical Director, Rafa Nadal Academy, invited Adil to Spain for a trial.
And, he is now training at the academy in Mallorca (Spain) on a three-year contract that includes training and management of his career.
Dr Sunita Maheshwari (Adil’s mother) described the event as destiny, saying: “I would call it destiny. Rafael Nadal pulled out of the French Open, and because of that, Toni Nadal (Rafael’s coach) could watch Adil playing, and did a one-on-one with him. Next day, Costa approached us saying that Adil had a lot of potential, and they would like to train and manage him. Had Nadal played in France, Toni wouldn’t be at the academy, and Adil wouldn’t have gotten this opportunity.”
Excited about this chance, the AITA U-18 No 1 Adil said: “This kind of opportunity doesn’t come everyday. I’m really looking forward to it. I want to improve my fitness. That is the priority at the moment, so that I can be ready for the men’s events.”
Toni, head of the academy, in a statement said: “We’re very happy to work with Adil. The whole team will work very hard in order to maximise his potential and opportunities. India has a growing tennis scene. They are doing great things there, and we’re really excited to be a part of it.”
During his three-year stint, Adil will receive guidance from 14 different coaches at the academy. He said: “It’s always good to have inputs from several coaches, so you can see what’s best for you. This is an added benefit because you’ll be getting world-class advice from so many coaches. All the coaches there are instructed by Toni, which would be a unique system of coaching.”
Late in September, Adil will represent India in the Junior Davis Cup finals in Hungary.