Mahak Jain

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Re: Mahak Jain

Post by Observer » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:52 am

Im not sure if proper handling is the only problem here. Travelling to Australia to play a tournament is a significant expense, more so if 1 or 2 people travel along to support the player. Im not sure how rich Mahak's family is but even families which are fairly well to do say 85th percentile household income in India would consider it an exorbitant expense.

Also its difficult to be assured of success in junior slams leading to any significant financial support, Yuki being a prime example of someone who didnt get much out of their massive success in juniors. Im not sure what is the most optimal strategy for someone who has access to limited funds, I can easily see why trying to become financially independent on pro tour as quickly as possible might look very attractive. IMO the importance of getting the maximum value of the funds available increases exponentially with the decrease in the total available funds.



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Re: Mahak Jain

Post by jayakris » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:32 am

So after she found money for 13 foreign trips to places like Pakistan, Korea (twice), Malaysia (twice), Thailand, Germany, Netherlands, China, Egypt, Japan, England, and USA in the last two years, she is suddenly out of sponsors and funds to play one of the 4 most important events she can play now? Just when it matters? Really??....

I am not saying that it is impossible that she is out of funds and sponsors, but it has to be something else. Heck, even if you cannot go, shouldn't you send the entry in, and try as much as you can?

Hell, we can raise a $2500 for 2 people's air ticket ($1600) and for expenses right here in a week if she wants us to. Somebody needs to at least try. They give hospitality at junior events, unlike in the pro tour.

I have to think that she has exams or some other personal issue (hopefully not injury). Maybe she has some other reason that we are entirely not imagining. It is possible. Or, she has been advised to drop the junior circuit and go for the pros. If it's the latter, it is TERRIBLE advice.

And, I disagree, Observer, when you say that one can make any living at all, playing pros and getting prize money, unless one is ranked somewhere in the top-200 (and even then you hardly make ends meet and need at least 30-40% of funds from sponsorship). It is cheaper to play the junior tour because you do get hospitality at all events... and air tickets are much much cheaper, on relative terms, than what it used to be even 15-20 years ago. Anyway, we are only asking for 6 or 8 weeks of juniors at best. She should be playing at least around 15 weeks on the pro tour anyway. Those 6-8 weeks which will cost you probably 10 odd RT tickets for two people for probably $8000-10000 and probably $5000 in food etc - which is actually more than you would spend on the pro tour for those weeks, even with a paltry 2 or 3 thousand dollar earnings.. And then you only get probably half the number of matches you can get on the junior tour, to improve your game. Whichever way you look at it, dropping the junior tour is just a BAD BAD idea.



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Re: Mahak Jain

Post by sameerph » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:40 am

And AITA did sponsor players for the last 2 slams - Wimbledon and US open to go along with a common coach picked by them. So, most probably they will do the same this time too.



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Re: Mahak Jain

Post by jayakris » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:42 am

sameerph wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:40 am
And AITA did sponsor players for the last 2 slams - Wimbledon and US open to go along with a common coach picked by them. So, most probably they will do the same this time too.
True. I wasn't even going to comment on that because I wasn't sure if AITA had offered to send her. You can never say what politics go on! But they have generally supported juniors for some travel, to grand slams.



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Re: Mahak Jain

Post by vatsal323 » Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:50 am

I think I read in one of her interviews that she has decided to focus on the pro circuit now. Very bad idea. Not a 100% sure though!



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Re: Mahak Jain

Post by sameerph » Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:11 am

Yes, I don't think funding is an issue here. If funding is an issue she would at least put in her name in the initial entry list and then withdraw closer to the tournament date when it is clear that she would not get enough funding to go there.



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Re: Mahak Jain

Post by Observer » Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:45 am

jayakris wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:32 am
So after she found money for 13 foreign trips to places like Pakistan, Korea (twice), Malaysia (twice), Thailand, Germany, Netherlands, China, Egypt, Japan, England, and USA in the last two years, she is suddenly out of sponsors and funds to play one of the 4 most important events she can play now? Just when it matters? Really??....

I am not saying that it is impossible that she is out of funds and sponsors, but it has to be something else. Heck, even if you cannot go, shouldn't you send the entry in, and try as much as you can?

Hell, we can raise a $2500 for 2 people's air ticket ($1600) and for expenses right here in a week if she wants us to. Somebody needs to at least try. They give hospitality at junior events, unlike in the pro tour.

I have to think that she has exams or some other personal issue (hopefully not injury). Maybe she has some other reason that we are entirely not imagining. It is possible. Or, she has been advised to drop the junior circuit and go for the pros. If it's the latter, it is TERRIBLE advice.

And, I disagree, Observer, when you say that one can make any living at all, playing pros and getting prize money, unless one is ranked somewhere in the top-200 (and even then you hardly make ends meet and need at least 30-40% of funds from sponsorship). It is cheaper to play the junior tour because you do get hospitality at all events... and air tickets are much much cheaper, on relative terms, than what it used to be even 15-20 years ago. Anyway, we are only asking for 6 or 8 weeks of juniors at best. She should be playing at least around 15 weeks on the pro tour anyway. Those 6-8 weeks which will cost you probably 10 odd RT tickets for two people for probably $8000-10000 and probably $5000 in food etc - which is actually more than you would spend on the pro tour for those weeks, even with a paltry 2 or 3 thousand dollar earnings.. And then you only get probably half the number of matches you can get on the junior tour, to improve your game. Whichever way you look at it, dropping the junior tour is just a BAD BAD idea.
I was nowhere near as well informed either about her recent travel history or the relative benefit one could get out of spending similar amount of money on juniors as opposed to pros at this stage in their career. Thanks for explaining in such detail, I cant disagree with any of it :).



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Re: Mahak Jain

Post by jayakris » Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:56 am

vatsal323 wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:50 am
I think I read in one of her interviews that she has decided to focus on the pro circuit now. Very bad idea. Not a 100% sure though!
There you go. We have all seen this way too many times, and that is why we hyperventilate immediately. We can sense it from a mile away. I tried to spin it as "possibly she has some other reason", just to be fair and be nice to Mahak's team, but I knew deep inside that I was just making an excuse for her.

How many times must we see that it does NOT work, before our coaches and others start advising the parents properly? That BS about skipping the juniors and going gung-ho into the pros is utterly useless. I can just imagine the "experts" saying stuff like, "look at X or Y; if you want to get to the top, you fight it out with the best; not the juniors". Blah, blah, yadda, yadda. Utter bovine excrement.

In her final year of junior play, after turning 16 at the end of 2002, Sania played about 10 events in the juniors and 10 events in the futures. About 50 matches total - a healthy number. About 25 matches each. Mahak turned 16 in June this year. She has played 3 junior events for 4 matches, and 4 pro events for 10 matches total in 6 months. At least for another six months she needs to play juniors and get some 20 odd good matches at higher level events along with another 15-20 in the juniors. And she needs a good bunch of quality matches (against players of top-250 potential). You won't get that in the futures against all the also-rans. They might beat you with experience, but aren't playing the tennis that you need to play against.

So, which of the 25 junior matches and 25 pro matches she played in her final junior year do you think helped Sania more to improve her own game? Here are the career high rankings of the best 10 opponents she played in the juniors in those 25 matches: 13, 37, 50, 50, 84, 87, 93, 135, 146, 187. Because she was playing just grade-1 and grade-A events, she was only playing the best talents (a majority of the matches were against players who reached top-400). Now let us look at the 25 pro matches she played. The career highs of the best players she facd are: 64, 143, 151, 272, 310 (and the first two happened only because she had WCs to Doha and Hyderbad WTAs). She did not even get too many matches agaist top-400 quality players in the pro events. There was no comparison on the quality of matches. Anybody can see which set of matches helped Sania more to see what the best-coached players out there were doing, gauge the deficiencies in her game and work on them. She was playing the likes of Varanya Vijaksanaboon and Shruti Dhawan in the futures events, while she played the likes of Agnes Savoy and Stephanie Dubois in the juniors.

Sania is the only top-50 player we have ever produced. People should first look at what she did before acting like they are experts. Or, if you can, give me examples of those who actually gained by not playing the final year of juniors (unless the player was already top-250 by then). Are we so smart in India that we know all these other golden routes for success that is unknown to all the tennis experts in countries with so many more junior players who perform so much better than our players and continue to play the juniors much longer than our players? We know it so well that we advice not to take up even AITA offers to pay for a trip to a junior grand slam (that has happened! not sure if it is the case with Mahak)... Like, playing it will badly hurt our top juniors' games, and like it is so dangerous to the golden development path that only we know of.

This bull-crap needs to end. I'm sorry to vent like this. It's because we have so much hope on Mahak. Missing this one event may not bring the sky down, but if she is under this kind of advice already, I wonder what else would be the bad advising that is all in store for her later.



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Re: Mahak Jain

Post by Rajiv » Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:37 am

Transition to the professional tour involves a solid base of Junior Tennis , Nobody has a crystal ball on how good / bad you will be on the pro tour and and it finally boils down to training in junior years .
When you are young and full of energy it is so much easier to endure all what it takes in order to become a pro . The dynamics of physical endurance , mental ,tactical , technical all these parameters come into play in this age group

Junior level is the most important development stage of player , one which determine's where he or she stands and they need all the critical help and guidance in this 16 to 18 year age group , But with such no brainier decision as in case of Mahak hope it doesn't turn out to be a decision for which she will regret for the rest of her life.



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Re: Mahak Jain

Post by sameerph » Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:34 pm

jayakris wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:56 am

Sania is the only top-50 player we have ever produced. People should first look at what she did before acting like they are experts. Or, if you can, give me examples of somebody who actually gained by not playing the final year of juniors (unless the player was already top-250 by then).
In recent history, the only 2 Indian players who have not played too much ITF juniors at all but have done reasonably well in pros are RamK and Saketh. Saketh went to US college and only turned pro after that. So, we can discount that. So, the only one left is RamK. He is the one who steadfastly refused to play ITF juniors and kept playing pros. Eventually, now it seems he is doing fine in pros being ranked inside 140. So, that is one example that I can think of although still it would be debatable if he would have done better if he had played more ITF juniors.



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Re: Mahak Jain

Post by jayakris » Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:17 pm

sameerph wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:34 pm
So, the only one left is RamK. He is the one who steadfastly refused to play ITF juniors and kept playing pros. Eventually, now it seems he is doing fine in pros being ranked inside 140. So, that is one example that I can think of although still it would be debatable if he would have done better if he had played more ITF juniors.
I never felt that it was even debatable. He wasted time in 2011 and 2012 right after turning 16. Period. End of story. And he was in Spain, within an earshot of at least 10 odd junior events and 30 odd junior matches in grade 1 and grade A events that he could have played in those two years. At least 10-15 matches against players who would reach top-300 within the next 3-4 years. I have not gone through the list of players he actually played in the pro futures events (which were mostly all futures qualies against the same kind of no-name guys on Spanish clay in 2011 and a few against some decent guys in 2012). He could have had the same training from the Spaniards and could have had much more time to train in Spain in 2011 had he played the juniors rather than go months on end to play qualies in one futures after another. Made my cry. And it made RamK cry too, literally. Spectacular waste of time as far as match play was concerned in 2011 and 2012.

Then he had to come to India at the end of 2013 to play futures here and actually start moving up the ranks when he turned 19. He would have reached top-500 a whole year earlier, could have had more variety of matches as far as playing surfaces were concerned, and could have been more improved with experience, had he played the junior circuit also while training in Spain. Some of the chnks in game tat are still to be fixed, would have been identified a bit earlier and worked on, before it got too late, too. It is not even debatable, sameer - and I know you are being too nice in saying that :)



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Re: Mahak Jain

Post by sameerph » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:37 pm

Haha, yeah. I was pretty sure at that time that it was a wrong approach. But, just that he has reached a ranking of 136 ( which is very good in Indian context) makes me think about that again. Finally the end result matters and would his ranking been better than this if he had played juniors ?

I am sure RamK ( and his TNTA advisors ) would disagree with what we say. They would say that he has reached this far because he did not play juniors. There are lots of 18-19 year olds from Tamil Nadu- Sasi Mukund, Manish Sureshkumar, Dakshineshwar Suresh who appear quite talented going by some of the results they pull off at futures level but have never played ITF juniors. Everyone out there seems to be going down the same path that RamK did.



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Re: Mahak Jain

Post by prasen9 » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:41 pm

This is a trade-off between more matches and playing players who are at a higher level. I think it would be best to first play juniors and if you are way above them or if you are playing too many easy matches and getting competition only in the semis and finals, maybe you should mix in a few futures. It should not be that hard. The objectives are to give the player higher-level competition as well as having the player play quite a few matches where he or she can try things, practice, and improve.



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Re: Mahak Jain

Post by prasen9 » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:44 pm

sameerph wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:37 pm
I am sure RamK ( and his TNTA advisors ) would disagree with what we say. They would say that he has reached this far because he did not play juniors. There are lots of 18-19 year olds from Tamil Nadu- Sasi Mukund, Manish Sureshkumar, Dakshineshwar Suresh who appear quite talented going by some of the results they pull off at futures level but have never played ITF juniors. Everyone out there seems to be going down the same path that RamK did.
I think RamK was the best at the junior level and that is why he was chosen to train in Spain (not in the rain). So, unless we say that the other players were equally talented, we are comparing apples and oranges. It is difficult to tease apart confounding factors to find out what worked. But, I think that the training in Spain worked and helped him improve aspects of his game (including mental).



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Re: Mahak Jain

Post by sanjay5goel » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:51 pm

prasen9 wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:44 pm
But, I think that the training in Spain worked and helped him improve aspects of his game (including mental).
What could be the reason that they completely ignored improving his backhand during the early years?

Hare Krishna!



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