By Sports Reporter/Doha
Asian children prefer the safety net of a good education rather than risk their future taking up professional sports, International Tennis Federation (ITF) vice-president Anil Khanna said yesterday.
Khanna, who is also the President of the Asian Tennis Federation (ATF), was speaking to journalists in Doha where he is attending the Qatar ExxonMobil Open at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash complex.
“You will find very few kids deciding at an early age that they want get into professional sports. It’s because they know it involves a big risk. If they don’t make it big it could affect their future,” he said.
“That is why you find very few Asians in the top echelons of sports like tennis,” he added.
Khanna said the situation in professional tennis is such that a player has to be really good to strike it rich.
“The top few players are the ones that are making lots of money. Thirty or 40 players below them also make some money, but players further below often end up not making any money. Actually many of them end up losing money.”
Khanna said that holding tennis tournaments has become a very expensive affair these days.
“Costs are constantly rising and it has become difficult to find sponsors. Countries like China are still doing well though, also, India, but costs are so prohibitive that not many others can afford to host big tournaments.”
He was all praise for the Qatar ExxonMobil Open which was voted the best ATP World Tour 250 Series event for two successive years by players.
“The International Tennis Federation and the Asian Tennis Federation are very proud of the Qatar Open. We are not surprised that it won the award for two straight years,” Khanna said.
“In fact if you ask me I’d say it’s even better than some of the ATP 500 tournaments. “I’ve been coming to Qatar for many years now and I know that the Qatar Open has done wonders for Asian players. It has given recognition to Asia. It is a great incentive for Asian players.”
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