As I await in my car for Somshekhar Mallapa in front of BEML factory gate, I browse my internet to find Yuki Bhambri reaching the quarters of the Citi Open. As I was foreseeing the upswing of Indian tennis stars in the years to come, I get a honk from Somshekhar on his bike and he prepares to guide me to his home.
I am to meet his daughter Apoorva BS, the no 1 tennis player from Karnataka in the under 16 girls category.
Over a cup of tea in his typical middle-class home, Somshekhar proudly shares Apoorva`s bio data in tennis. As a 15-year-old, Apoorva is already starting to compete with the top women of the country in the various AITA tournaments. I must confess that I did not expect Somshekhar`s profound knowledge about the game and approach. I never thought that this simple dressed man would know so much about tennis in India as he touched upon subjects from the top tennis players of the country under various age groups to the impeding problems facing Indian tennis. Appearance is often deceptive.
As Apoorva joined us in the discussion, both father and daughter shared about her journey in tennis and plans for future.
- Started Playing Tennis: From the age of 10
- School & College: Cambridge School & Surana College
- Hours of practice: From 6.00 am to 11.00 am daily. Monday is her off day.
- Favourite Surface: Clay
- Where she practices: On the clay courts of Noah Tennis Academy and hard courts of Indiranagar Club.
- Family Support: Her father has been a constant support. He travels with her for her tournaments across India
- 2017 Plan: start competing in the AITA ranked woman`s tournaments
- 2018 Plan: To do well in the Road To Roland Garros and qualify. To start competing in the ITF circuit primarily in Asia and a bit in Europe
Tennis Sponsorship in India – very difficult but not impossible
- Govt/ Association Support: Recently got a cheque of 2.5 Lacs but still need more
- Sponsorship Support: Looking forward to sports equipment/ apparel sponsorship from companies like Yonex, ASICS etc
- Finance Required: Minimum of 20 lacs required for her next year to start competing in enough tournaments and get the required points.
- Sponsorship Goal: To approach Bangalore based builders, retail chains, regional banks etc
- Approach: Crafted a good profile of her tennis journey and accordingly approaching the stake holders
- Gold Medal – School Games Federation of India Championship 2016-2017 at National Level, Mysore
- Silver Medal – Individual performance , School Games Federation of India Championship 2016-17 at National Level, 2016-2017 at Mysore
- Gold Medal – School Games Federation of India Championship, 2014-2015 at National Level
- Silver Medal – Rajiv Gandhi Khel Abhiyan Championship in 2015
- Gold Medal – State Olympics, Feb 2017 Silver Medal – Individual Performance
- Ranked No 1 – Karnataka Girls (Under 16)
- Ranked No 12 – All India Girls (Under 16) under AITA
As we speak today, Apoorva is called for national duty. She is now in the coaching camp of SGFI Indian tennis teams for the forthcoming 5th Asian Schools tennis championship to be held at Java from 19th to 28th Aug. Let us all wish her the very best for a great future.