The Aspire Foundation (a “not for profit” sports education & promotion trust) and The Gandhinagar Club Adyar, hosted a one-of-a-kind tennis evening on December 20th, 2019 to officially launch the Aspire High Performance Tennis Program that seeks to help and nurture talent and to celebrate the journey of Sumit Nagal, soon to be India’s top ranked men’s tennis player.
Sumit Nagal, the new poster boy of Indian tennis, who rose from 600 to 120 in the ATP rankings in 2019 and will soon break into the Top 100 club, shot to fame by qualifying through to the 2019 US Open Grand Slam main draw and then taking a set off the legendary Roger Federer.
The event featured one of the torchbearers of Indian tennis, Mahesh Bhupathi who flew down to Chennai to participate in the function and felicitate Sumit Nagal.
The evening featured a star-studded line up of tennis players which includes the likes of Somdev Devvarman, a mentor to the Aspire Program and other prominent Indian tennis professionals. An exciting feature of the evening was an exhibition match at the Gandhinagar Club tennis courts between Somdev (formerly India’s highest ranked singles player) and Sumit (the current India no 1).
The Aspire Foundation, a unique high performance tennis program modelled along the lines of the famous Britannia Amritraj Tennis (BAT) Program of the early 1990s, has been set up by Rajeev Vijaykumar (a long standing tennis coach and former Indian tennis pro) and Karthik Athreya (a tennis enthusiast who’s also a finance professional) with a goal to create a team of talented juniors who will have the skills that give them a real shot at turning pro and considering a career in tennis.
The program is tailor-made for juniors in the age groups of 12-18 and they will be trained, guided and mentored in the areas of skills, fitness, diet and mental strength enabling them to transition from amateurs to professionals, which is often the most difficult transition to make for a player.
Congratulating Sumit and Aspire Foundation, Mahesh Bhupathi said, “Thanks to Aspire for hosting Sumit and his team of coaches during their Pre- Season. It’s good to see people who are passionate about the sport come together and try and make a difference”
Rajeev Vijaykumar, Aspire Foundation added, “As part of the program, the Aspire Foundation will also offer a path to the highly sought after US Collegiate (NCAA) tennis programs especially with Somdev’s access to top US College tennis coaches as a two time NCAA champion.
The Aspire Foundation also played host to Sumit and his coach and team from December 14th till December 27th 2019 as they underwent their pre-season training program. This lull in the otherwise busy tennis circuit gives players a chance to work on their games and fitness and come back to the grind of the circuit rejuvenated and ready for another gruelling year.”
Other top Indian tennis stars who have also trained at Aspire are Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan who recently made his successful Davis Cup debut in Kazakhstan in the tie against Pakistan.