AITA refused to take my help: Nirupama Vaidyanathan

New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS): Former India No.1 Nirupama Vaidyanathan Friday said she had offered to coach youngsters and upcoming talent but the All India Tennis Association (AITA) turned her down.

Nirupama, who became the first Indian woman to win a round at a Grand Slam event in 1998, said various federations across the board needed to take advice from senior sportsperson to improve the state of affairs.

"When I offered my expertise to AITA they didn't care. I hope they change. They can do a lot better... there is so much potential here. Obviously not every sportsperson can run a federation, but a lot of changes can be brought in even in an advisory role," said Nirupama on the sidelines of the launch of her book 'The Moonballer'.

"Even when I was playing, AITA could have done a lot more. They could have tried to get me sponsors but, as I have said before, they didn't bother me in anyway so it is fine," she added. 

However, Nirupama said that if she was to join the AITA in the future it would have to be on her "terms and conditions" and made clear that she would not want "any outside interference".

"My aim is to help juniors as much as possible. But if I am to join the AITA it has to be on my terms and conditions. There can be no bias towards players and no interference from outside," said Nirupama, who now resides in California and has a tennis academy there.

On another note, Nirupama pointed out that India needed to hold more professional tournaments to set high standards for the young players.

"Once you cross the grassroot level, you only play local talent in domestic tournaments. There need to be more professional tournaments. Players also need to go abroad to play. That is the only way to improve," she opined.

Speaking about opening an academy in India, Nirupama said: "I'm thinking about it. In the immediate future, there is nothing... but let's see things can change."


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