Do you dream of becoming the next Sania Mirza or Leander Paes? If becoming a professional tennis player is your dream, here are a few things you must know.
Millions of tennis enthusiasts in India want to know how to play tennis like a pro. However, only few of them actually have the physical, emotional and mental ability to make it happen.
In learning how to play tennis like a professional, youngsters make the mistake of believing it is an overnight process. But they find out soon that the learning process of tennis is much longer than they had previously thought. Only a handful of tennis players and elite junior players worldwide know the true formula behind how to play tennis like a pro.
Everyone who loves to play tennis also wishes that they could play like their favorite tennis pro. Everyone has their own idol. They buy the clothes, shoes and accessories they wear. They use the same racket they use, or at least a version that looks like it. They also try to copy the way their favourite pro hits the ball.
Most of the times, they think that they got it all down, but somehow, the serve isn’t quite as fast nor as accurate, the forehand not quite so reliable and the backhand downright ugly.
Let’s look at some vital points to become a professional tennis player
Getting started as a Professional Tennis Player
Most successful professional tennis players start at a very young age. It takes years of practice and wins to get to a decent level. It is vital to start young. Most players start by playing for their school or university and slowly make their way up. Simultaneously working on your fitness routine, discipline and food habits is extremely important. You must possess basic tennis equipment like a good quality racquet and shoes and mustn’t be stingy on safety gear. Join a tennis academy if it is feasible for you or hire a coach. When you start you must have clarity about what your goal is and what is your plan to achieve your goal.
Find a good mentor to become a Professional tennis plsyer
A mentor can go a long way in helping you realise your dream of becoming a professional tennis player. Find yourself an experienced mentor, who is willing to teach you with patience and believes that you have what it takes. A good mentor is one who you can trust and who can help you fix your form and technique. It has to be someone who knows the sport inside-out. Your mentor must inspire you and motivate you to strive for perfection.
Play tournaments like a Professional Tennis Player
You won’t achieve much by practising in the net for long. You have to get yourself out there and face real challenges. It is recommended to start by enrolling in a local tournament which is recognised by the All India Tennis Association. You can find one that suits your eligibility and schedule on their website. At these tournaments, you will see how competitive the sport is and where you stand. You will have a chance to meet some of your contemporaries and learn from them. It is the only way you can find out what you need to improve on and what will make you stand out from the crowd.
Take the Plunge
International Tennis Federation (ITF) is the organisation that handles tennis tournaments and player rankings around the world. ITF Pro Circuit is an entry level professional tennis initiative. On ITF’s website, you can find the forms and procedure required to become a part of the Pro Circuit. Before you can compete in ITF Pro Circuit tournaments you must register for a membership which will provide you a unique International Player Identification Number (IPIN). Successful performances on the ITF Pro Circuit allows players to acquire computer ranking points which will help them move up to the next level of the professional competitive ladder. The ITF Women’s Circuit offers some 500+ tournaments in 60+ countries worldwide whereas the ITF Men’s Circuit offers 600+ tournaments across 70+ countries. The prize money starts at $15000.
Analyse the expense and seek sponsors
Tennis has always had a reputation for being a sport of the elite. The high cost of the equipment and coaching is the reason many Indians cannot achieve their dream of playing tennis professionally. A decent tennis racquet costs nearly Rs 10,000. You will need a separate fund for your travels for tournaments. The cost of a good coaching will surely make a dent in your budget. But don’t lose hope, you would be surprised to know how many Indian tennis stars come from humble backgrounds. You can always look for sponsors and aid from NGOs and institutes that fund sporting talent.
Practice makes a Professional Tennis player perfect
Practice is the solution to any problem. Federer didn’t become what he is today in a day. It takes a lot of practice, hard work and patience to become successful in any sport. You must have heard stories of tennis players to train from dawn to dusk. They are all true! That is the level of commitment and fortitude this sport demands. Anything can be achieved with well-guided practice and repetition.