Bhupathi to open tennis academies with Ansals


New Delhi : Grand Slam champion Mahesh Bhupathi will open tennis academies in 16 townships of real estate major Ansal Properties, with a budget of Rs.50-70 million on each one, it was announced here Wednesday.

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"Our goal has been to promote tennis and I will be happy to see more champions for India coming from Ansal's townships. We are not setting any time frame and our main focus would be to give world-class facilities," said Bhupathi at a press conference.

As per the tie-up, Ansal will initially establish Mahesh Bhupathi Tennis Academy in 10 of their townships. The academies would be a part of the clubs that would be built with a corpus of Rs.50-70 million each.

According to the Ansals, the projects has already started in Gurgaon and will be followed by Greater Noida, Ghaziabad – all satellite towns of Delhi – Lucknow, Mohali, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Meerut and Panipat.

"We would be developing all the infrastructure and Mahesh and his company Globosports will manage the academies. It will also be a value addition to our townships," said Pranav Ansal, director of Ansal Properties.

"What we are doing is a private effort and all these academies will act as a feeder system to the main academy in Bangalore. Young players are just not good enough and we need more academies like these to have a good junior programme," said Bhupathi.

The trainees at these academies will have to pay a price to get themselves enrolled.

"The membership for the clubs for the residents of the townships would be ranging from anything between Rs.20,000-Rs.40,000 and for outsiders it would be double that amount ," said Ansal.

Bhupathi, however, said that the Apollo Tennis Initiative, an effort to produce a singles Grand Slam champion by 2018 in which he is also involved, would remain his priority.

"The Apollo programme is the mother of all the programmes because our aim is to make a singles Grand Slam champion in the next 10 years," he said.

In May, Apollo Tyres announced their ambitious Mission 2018. As a part of the programme the company would be spending Rs.1 billion in 10 years.