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Nirupama Vaidyanathan

The first Indian woman tennis player to be signed with IMG talks of her future plans

Nirupama Vaidyanathan
What is the deal that you have signed with IMG?
I have just signed the deal. Now for the first time I will have professionals taking care of me. Till now I only had my father helping me. We have signed a contract for two years. It could even extend to three years.

Do you expect big sponsors because of this tie-up?
I don't know yet. But till now whatever has happened hasn't been good, now it can only be better. One main reasons I've been signed up with IMG has been my showing in the Australian Open.

Is reaching the second round of Australian Open an indicator of things to come?
Definitely. Though this is not the only indication. All these hopes do indicate that nothing is impossible.

Why hasn't women's tennis taken off in India yet?
One main reason is the social set-up. In India people are so particular about getting a degree. You can get a degree even at 27 but you need to train for tennis at a much younger age. We also don't deal with sports professionally. Till now sports was only a hobby. Every aspect has to be professional.

Do you think India is ready for a woman's ATP tour?
I don't think we are ready yet. We need some more challengers

Do you see the situation changing?
I see a lot more interest now. But these are individual decisions and these critical decisions need to be taken.

Are there enough sponsors for women players in India?
No. You need people who'll talk for you. A lot of people don't even see the sports pages.

Where are you headed?
I am on my way to the US to train for 10 days, then I'll play in three tournaments there.

What are your goals for this year?
I am aiming for the top 100. I am going to give it my best efforts and see how it goes.

How is it that Japanese women are doing so well on the women's circuit?
For the past five years they have been holding tournaments after tournaments in Japan. They have big sponsors. This has brought about the change there.

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