The tournament has, however, been a nightmare for Indians. Barring wild cards and a couple of good shows by qualifiers, no Indian has made it to the main draw based on raking in the recent past, barring Somdev Devvarman in 2014. It was the same year when Ramkumar Ramanathan did well in the qualifiers to oust Devvaraman in the first round and Yuki Bhambri exited in the quarter-final stage.
In 2017, Saketh Myneni, India’s top singles player, had to be given a wild card along with Ramkumar. Yuki Bhmabri did well in the qualifiers to progress but his progress was cut short by a rampaging Benoit Paire in the second round while Saketh and Ramkumar exited in the first.
However, lack of support from the All India Tennis Association has dented the Indians’ progress, feels Karti. “Yuki undoubtedly is India’s best singles player today. He proved a point against Ramkumar in style. But why doesn’t he have a coach? Why can’t the AITA give him a coach? I am not telling AITA to find a coach. Let Yuki do it and then the AITA should give him the money he requires. He is 23 or 24. He is not young by world standards now. We have already lost a good three to four years with Yuki. He was junior world No. 1. The AITA has so many eminent people. Why can’t they pick up the phone and talk to the corporates to give the top 5-6 players financial backing?” he questioned.
“Unless you are at the very top, you don’t make a lot of money in tennis. Indian players cannot afford having a coach travel with them throughout the year. The reason is financial,” Karti added.