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Srinath to coach Bopanna

Calcutta: As a player, Prahlad Srinath was a late bloomer and had limited opportunities in Davis Cup. Now that his vintage days are behind him, Srinath is wasting no time in graduating to the next logical stage.

He has no diploma or certificate, but the 29-year-old Mysore resident is already a coach in great demand. Srinath travelled with a team of juniors to a few tournaments last year before taking charge of Sunil Kumar for a month. Recently, he bagged his biggest assignment — to coach Rohan Bopanna for the entire 2003.

“He’s a huge talent… the first Indian since Leander (Paes) and Mahesh (Bhupathi) with the skill to compete at the international level,” Srinath said at the DKS this afternoon. “If he works hard and improves in certain areas, he can make the top 200 by the end of this year. ”

Bopanna is currently the highest-ranked Indian player, at No. 380 on the ATP list.

The two aspects of Bopanna’s game Srinath is working on are tactics and volleying.

“The most important thing is, of course, Rohan has to believe in himself and feel confident of competing with anyone.”

Srinath, who took Bopanna under his wings from the Tata Open in Chennai, will be travelling with him for 20 weeks.

Srinath had a lucrative coaching offer from an academy in Tampa, Florida. “I turned it down because right now, there is no challenge like coaching Bopanna. I am just concentrating on doing a good job with him.”

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