Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 11 (IANS) Two decades after the untimely death of ‘biscuit king’ Rajan Pillai in Tihar jail, his brother has set the ball rolling for a national-level tennis league to commemorate him. “His passion was tennis and he had envisaged a national-level league for amateur tennis players. Just before he passed away, he had floated the Beta Sports Group (BSG). As the first step to taking it to a national-level, the first state-level tournament is currently on — with 39 teams from Kerala taking part — which will get over later this month,” said Raj Mohan Pillai, brother of Rajan and the BSG chairman. Rajan died while in judicial custody in Tihar jail on July 7, 1995. Raj Mohan said they were going to take the second edition of the present tournament to clubs in south India.
“We propose to have it in September this year and we will be replicating the same model that we adopted in Kerala. Each team can have eight players of which four should be above 45 years and four below. Once we select the teams from each state, then the knock-out stages would be held. The venues are being decided. This is basically an outreach programme to popularise the game of tennis throughout the length and breadth of the country. “We are in no hurry and that’s why we decided to have the first one in Kerala, then widen the scope to south India and finally take it forward to the national-level,” said the younger Pillai, whose primary business is cashew export, which was started by their father several decades back and is done under the brand Nut King.
The proceeds of the tournament will go towards a player development fund which will be used to focus on young and aspiring players.