In the fast-evolving landscape of tennis, the Pro Tennis League (PTL) in India is making waves, offering a unique blend of competition and collaboration. India Davis Cup coach Zeeshan Ali, in an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times Digital, sheds light on the league’s growth over four seasons, its distinctive approach, and the essential role it plays in the hectic tennis calendar.
Zeeshan’s Take on PTL’s Evolution:
From its inception, PTL has witnessed significant growth, marking a departure from the traditional tennis format. Zeeshan expresses satisfaction at the league’s expansion, emphasizing its appeal to players amid the demanding tennis season that spans the entire year. PTL stands out as an opportunity for players to not only reap financial rewards but also relish the joy of a unique team-based competition.
Foreign Stars and PTL’s Popularity:
While foreign stars can add a touch of glamour, Zeeshan argues that their absence doesn’t hinder PTL’s popularity. According to him, the league’s charm lies in the overall experience and not just in the star power. He believes that unless a top-ranking player participates, the league won’t experience a substantial surge in popularity.
Empowering the Next Generation:
A distinctive feature of PTL is its impact on junior players. Zeeshan sees this as a valuable opportunity for budding talents, the U14 and U16 players, to learn and grow alongside seasoned professionals. The league becomes a classroom where young players can observe, question, and immerse themselves in the world of senior tennis, offering an unparalleled educational experience.
PTL in the Tennis Calendar:
Discussing the placement of such leagues in the tennis calendar, Zeeshan acknowledges the challenges of aligning schedules but sees the off-peak season as an ideal window. During this time, players can come together, not only to compete but also to relax and enjoy a week of tennis. This off-peak season, typically a period for rest or skill refinement, becomes an opportune moment for players to engage in a blend of competition and entertainment.
Leagues’ Impact on Indian Tennis:
Zeeshan stresses the importance of leagues like PTL, noting that such initiatives should have been present even during his playing days. Beyond financial gains, he sees these leagues as platforms for players to interact with coaches, top players, organizers, and sponsors. Success in a league can open doors to financial support from sponsors, creating a mutually beneficial relationship.
As PTL continues to carve its niche in the Indian tennis scene, Zeeshan envisions a future where such leagues become integral to the development and promotion of tennis in the country.