Melbourne: Indian tennis star Rohan Bopanna has blamed the system for not producing quality players and demanded more tournaments in the country itself.
Bopanna, who had bad outings in the both the categories (men's and mixed doubles) in the ongoing Australia Open here, also said the country needs to have more academies and strong grassroots programmes to produce more tennis players.
"We dont have system in place to generate that many of players. And not only the system but we need to have tournaments in India. We have only one ATP tournament and two challengers in India which is not enough. If you look at Europe or USA, they have 25 to 30 weeks of just tournaments alone which makes a difference," Bopanna told IANS.
"Tennis is an expensive sport so to travel constantly week and week out is tough. If each state in India has a one challenger tournament then you can travel only in india and make international points and that way we build constantly nUmber of athletes travelling and getting the sport and rankings high," he added.
"First we have to start with the system then with tournaments then obviously to have good academies in place. So that entire system once that comes into play we will have more player coming out of it."
Bopanna, who had paired up with Zhaoxuan Yang, went down 6-3, 3-6, 6-10 to Robert Farah and Anna-Lena Groenefeld in the opening match of the mixed doubles category at the Australian Open recently.
In the men's doubles category, Bopanna has paired up with fellow Indian Divij Sharan and lost his opening round match to the Spanish pair of Pablo Carreño Busta and Guillermo García-López.
Divij is a left handed player and Bopanna has paired up with him for he first time. The had won the Maharashtra Open but could not continue the momentum in the first Grand Slam of the year.
"Nothing went wrong in this tournament. I have to give credit to the opponents who is playing in this circuit for such a long time so they are more experienced than us," Bopanna said.
"Yes we were seeded higher but if you look at the experience in the grand Slams our opponents were more experienced than us.
For me playing with the left-hander is something new this time and it takes time to build a partnership and that what we are working on as a team," he added.
India will host Italy on grass court in the qualifiers for the Davis Cup in Kolkata next month. Taking bout the tie, Bopanna said the tie against Italy will be tough but the new format might help India.
According to the new rules, the tie have been cut from three days to two and each rubber will be decided over three sets, down from the earlier five.
"The Davis cup tie is very very tough tie because the Italians have four or five players in the top 100 which makes a big difference which we don't have anyone currently. Yes after this week Prajnesh(Gunneswaran) might come into the top 100 but apart from this they still have a lot more top players," he said.
"So we will surely going to have a tough tie against them but having new format of best of three sets I think we do have a chance."
(Gaurav Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)