Bhupathi conducts tennis clinic at MBTA

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Mahesh Bhupathi took some time out and played with the students of his tennis academy's Mumbai branch.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:53 IST
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Mahesh Bhupathi took some time out and played with the students of his tennis academy's Mumbai branch. It's been a great year for Bhupathi both on an off the court. He has won both the Wimbledon and US Open Mixed Doubles titles. His company Globo Sport has made great strides managing Sania Mirza. And he has formed the Mittal Champions Trust and established a chain of tennis academies. Focus on training The main focus of the Mahesh Bhupathi Tennis Academy (MBTA) is to get kids to enjoy the game and that's exactly what the tennis ace was hoping to achieve when he conducted a tennis clinic. "To enjoy tennis to start with. If you have thousands and thousands of kids enjoying tennis across the country hopefully a few of them would want to make a career out of it," said Bhupathi. And the response has been tremendous. In the last month, over 35 children have already enrolled at a branch of the MBTA in Mumbai. Besides the children, even the coaches go through consistent training and monitoring to ensure that they're following the right way of teaching tennis. "Mahesh and all of us have obviously played a lot so we know what goes into making a player. The USP of MBTA is all our coaches would be teaching the same standard of tennis at any MBTA centre across the country," said Gaurav Natekar, Director, Mahesh Bhupathi Tennis Academies. Role model The Sania Mania has resulted in many children taking up the sport. And while she has motivated many, Mahesh is really the children's inspiration. "I want to learn how he does his back hand and just what motivated him and encouraged him into being who he his," said Shefali Menezes, a student of MBTA. "I am very excited. He's a kind of a role model for me. And to actually see him play and giving us tips - there's nothing like it. I'm enjoying myself a lot," said Jai Malik, another student at MBTA. Being coached at the MBTA is prestigious enough for these children. But having the Grand Slam champion himself to knock a few balls with them just added that much more motivation to their desire to becoming good tennis players.

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