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Making world-class tennis players

Standing L to R: Simran Khan and Tejas Shevde; Sitting L to R: Simran Bundela and Dattaraj Naik

Every person has his forte and for youngsters Simran Khan, Tejas Shevde, Simran Bundela and Dattaraj Naik, its tennis. They recently participated in Gadre Gaspar Dias Open 2018 and won significant titles; they trace their journey with NT KURIOCITY in this interview

SHERAS FERNANDES | NT KURIOCITY

Tennis, for some, is a sport often watched on the television but to youngsters Simran Khan, Tejas Shevde, Simran Bundela and Dattaraj Naik from Goa it is more than just that. At an age when academics are generally given more prominence these youngsters decided to juggle it with extracurricular activities owing to their flexible practice schedules. These four youngsters recently participated in Gadre Gaspar Dias Open 2018, the annual state level tournament and won in their respective categories.

Dattaraj Naik, the youngest of the four, won the U-12 Boys Category at the tournament. Besides playing tennis he likes playing football, basketball and table tennis however he reveals that he enjoys playing tennis like no other sport. “My journey in tennis began in 2002 under the guidance of coach Subodh Shevde at BPS Club, Margao,” he says. Dattaraj wishes to follow in the footsteps of tennis champion Roger Federer and he feels that practice will make him perfect.

For 11-year-old Simran Bundela her tennis-playing brother, Aman Bundela, was the motivation to follow suit and adopt tennis. “I left ballet at the age of 8 and started playing tennis,” she says. Chasing her dreams, her sheer determination has caused her to win several awards and says she feels like working harder with all her achievements. Her dad, Rajesh Bundela the founder and director of Inspire Music Institute, Margao also encouraged Simran to play the piano. “I started learning the piano at the age of 5,” she says. Coached by Subodh Shevde, Simran was the winner of the Clube Tennis de Gaspar Dias Open 2017 tournament in the Under-12 category. Simran Bundela is inspired by upcoming tennis player Gabriella and wishes to become a world-class tennis player and concert pianist in future.

19-year-old Simran Khan won the Ladies Single and Mixed Double titles of the Gadre Gaspar Dias Open 2018 tournament it was her mother who encouraged her to take up the sport at the age of 11. “My mom enrolled me in a camp at BPS Sports Club in Margao, I played well and she supported me to go further,” says the second year BA student who is coached by Suresh Kadam. Besides playing tennis, Simran K also plays volleyball for her college – Carmel College For Women, Nuvem; cricket and table tennis is something that she enjoys playing. Simran says that practice is important but fitness is equally vital. “If you are not fit then you cannot stay on the court for long,” she says. She aspires to become a world-class tennis player like Serena Williams.

Tejas Shevde is the leading tennis player and three-time champion of the Clube Tennis de Gaspar Dias Open 2016-18, and is an all-rounder athlete. 20-year-old Tejas won Gadre Gaspar Dias Open Men’s Singles for three years in a row. This year he also won the mixed doubles with Simran K. He grew up watching a lot of tennis and was introduced to the sport by his father Subodh Shevde. His journey in tennis began at the age of eight and since then has been adding several titles to his name. Aspiring to become a tennis professional like his role model Roger Federer, Tejas practices for a couple of hours daily under Nathan Chowgule’s guidance, the president of the Goa State Tennis Association. He says that you can become a good player with lots of hard work, talent of course, and discipline to top it all.

Both Simran K and Tejas have represented the state on a national level for tennis and have also won numerous awards. The four opine that equal importance has to be given to tennis like football and cricket. “The government has to focus on improving the infrastructure and invest in proper coaching for the enhancement of tennis in the state,” says Tejas, sharing the common opinion.

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