Apollo Tyres teams up with Mahesh Bhupathi & Radek Stepanek
In continuation of the company’s efforts to support the development of Indian tennis, Apollo Tyres Ltd today signed up the doubles team of Indian tennis icon Mahesh Bhupathi and one of the world’s top tennis players Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic, for the ATP and Gland Slam Tours of 2007.
This comes exactly a year after Apollo Tyres decided to undertake the training expenses of teenage prodigy from Delhi, Yuki Bhambri. In the summer of 2006, Yuki has trained under Bob Brett in San Remo, Italy, and held the Number 1 position for both Asia and India Under-14 in 2006. Yuki has begun 2007 in true style, with wins over ranked players in the ITF World Junior Circuit.
Speaking on the announcement, Mr Neeraj R S Kanwar, Joint Managing Director and COO, Apollo Tyres Ltd, said: “Mahesh is a perfect fit for us, given our desire to promote tennis and develop young talent. Through this association, we hope to create a strong, youthful and energetic Brand India in the international circuit.”
Apollo decided to back Mahesh Bhupathi and his doubles partner Stepanek, keeping in mind the work Mahesh has been doing to develop tennis talent in India, while continuing to be a top ranked player on the international circuit. A Padmashree holder, Mahesh has the record for the maximum Grand Slam titles won by an Indian -- four Doubles and six Mixed Doubles. He has partnered with some of the best players like Martina Hingis and Mary Pierce for Mixed Doubles and Leander Paes and Mario Ancic for Doubles.
However, it is Mahesh Bhupathi’s off-circuit work, developing and promoting the sport, that has led Apollo to back the Mahesh-Radek duo. While not on the ATP tour, Mahesh devotes his time to promoting the tennis in India by holding tennis camps for youngsters and running a full-time tennis academy in Bangalore. His company Globosport manages the careers of rising Indian players. In recent times, Mahesh has been instrumental in bringing into the country some of the biggest names in the sport – Martina Navratilova, Mary Pierce, Martina Hingis, Mario Ancic, Tommy Robredo and Carlos Moya amongst others.
Said Mahesh Bhupathi, “Radek and I are looking forward to a challenging 2007 and our association with Apollo Tyres creates that perfect opportunity to become an Unstoppable Team!” Bhupathi and Stepanek have decided to play the circuit after promising results both times they played together in 2006. The duo reached the semifinals at Monte Carlo in 2006, beating top teams like Paes-Damm and Federer-Allegro along the way. The duo will begin their season with the Australian Open, later this month, where they will play their first Grand Slam of the year. Bhupathi will be playing his preferred left court while Radek is a natural deuce-court specialist and will be playing on the right.
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