HCL Tennis Junior Masters 2016 – Visit by Stefan Hermann




Mr. Stefan Hermann, former ATP player and once having a world record for doing maximum number of rallies, spoke to parents and participants at the HCL Tennis Junior Tour & Masters on 21st & 22nd November 2016, respectively. Stefan shared a few secrets on “How to achieve more with less effort?”. He also spoke about how he created the world record, how to generate more top spin in the game, mental aspects of tennis and the importance of physical fitness in tennis. He also spoke about his days in the tennis circuit. Needless to say the kids were all very excited and gained immensely from the interaction.

Stefan Hermann spoke to The Sports Mirror in an exclusive interview.

Here are the excerpts:

Do you see a potential growth for Tennis in India?

Absolutely I believe India is in a particular phase of its development, which reminds me quite a bit of the phase in which I grew up in the German society. There is much opportunity available to kids these days and I believe that India can possibly even become world leader as there is such a vacancy for leadership in the world right now.

What are the 3 key elements to be successful in Tennis?

Well actually there are four very important elements – it’s the strategic side of tennis, it’s the mental side of tennis, it’s the technical side and then there is the physical – the conditioning. In my personal opinion, it’s the mental side that is very under-utilized, where in most tennis players have the biggest opportunity for development.

Former ATP player Stefan Hermann at HCL Tennis Junior Masters 2016, interacting with the players

Former ATP player Stefan Hermann at HCL Tennis Junior Masters 2016, interacting with the players

Do you think the kids today have a better advantage than you had when you were young?

Again this is a wonderful question and I think there are opportunities in all phases of life and in all phases of development. I believe, as I said earlier, India is in a particularly interesting phase right now because the Indian society is seemingly really opening up to so many new developments and new opportunities. When I see the kids here playing on the tennis courts, I feel for them only sky is the limit. They are growing up during times where things are rapidly evolving and new inventions are becoming mainstream on a daily basis. Do you know that by 2050 more than 70% of the jobs that people will engage in are not even invented as of today, imagine the opportunities and possibilities that will open up to these kids through technology and also through the development of the human spirit. It’s a wonderful time to be alive I think, for everybody.

What is your message to the kids on being humble in success and motivated in defeat?

That’s a difficult one! I believe it has a lot to do with being emotionally literate and to know what the person is feeling – it’s ok to be sad, it’s ok to be angry, it’s ok to be fearful at certain points, but it is also really ok to be joy as is to celebrate victories. Ultimately the way to humility always comes through being in touch with your own vision and the knowing of one’s own purpose. And that after every victory there is the next match, the next opportunity, the next development. So as a humble person I am always aware that I can utilize the next opportunity to achieve my goals.

How has your experience been so far when interacting with the kids?

Yes, it’s been wonderful and very heart-warming for me to meet the kids here at the HCL Tennis Junior Tour and Maters. HCL is doing such an incredible job at facilitating this event and I understand that next year there might even be more tournaments. It is a wonderful opportunity for these kids to get exposure to tennis, to play against each other, to travel to other locations for matches. All this is helping them prepare the base for their professional tennis careers if they choose to pursue that.

How has been your experience of watching HCL Junior Tour and Masters? How is it compared with the ATP Junior Tournaments?

I believe that India is in a big advantage in a way. I have been coming to India for over 10 years now and I feel India in its spirit has a lot of the ingredients that individually and collectively are needed to build a really strong tennis program. It lends the players the much required resilience – the ability to fight, to get oneself really engaged in a game. There is so much potential in these kids that one can see when you see them play. I am quite excited to say that I can totally see the next Steffi Graf and the next Boris Becker in the kids who have played here over the last few days.

According to you what are the difficulties or scope of improvement which is needed in India for Tennis?

That is an important question you are asking. I have been asking this question to different players and coaches that I have met across various camps that I have been doing workshops at and the one answer that I consistently get is the improvement required in the relationship that these young players share with their parents and their coaches. You know the parents and the coaches are focused on doing a great job with these kids and they make huge efforts and sacrifices to support the children, but as it turns out, the children report the parents’ interaction as the biggest distraction for them to become great tennis players.  I personally identify this as a major opportunity because parents most of the time don’t realize that they themselves end of becoming the biggest hurdle in their children’s quest.

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