Game, Set, Match

Siddharth Reddy on being a sportsman and penning a book.

“My grandfather and father were both tennis players, and that’s how I started playing tennis,” said Siddharth Reddy, Joint Managing Director & CEO of Country Club. An avid sportsman, and having dabbled in several sports, he started playing tennis when he was eight-years old. By the age of 16, Reddy was ranked in the top 100 men’s category in the India National Circuit. “In high school, we won seven national titles. The Inter-Public School Championship (IPSC) follows the Davis Cup format (singles and doubles)” adding that sports helps in building character. “You learn to play hard and fair. When you loose, you learn to pick yourself up.” Reddy has had a combination of private and public training. He said “I trained with my coach in school, and also at the Tennis Village in Bangalore where Mahesh Bhupathi’s father coached me over the summer”.

Having played several matches, there are two matches that have been unforgettable. He said, “I was playing against one of the top five ranked players, and he had never lost a match before. In my mind, I had already won the match, and playing for my school gave me a sense of patriotism. Despite loosing the first set, I dug deep, and continued fighting till I won the match. Similarly, another match that has remained with me till this day is when I had lost a match, and the winner’s friend saw me and had asked what had happened, and I had replied that ‘It’s okay, and it’s part of life’, and his friend looked at me and said, ‘So is this how you’re going to take it’? And his words struck a chord with me, and from that moment on, losing never became an option for me.”

Ask him about his inspirations, and he said, “I am inspired by sportsmen. For example, look at Mohd. Ali – a fantastic boxer. Despite having his boxing license revoked, he still returned and was a champion. He stood by what he believed in. Similarly, in tennis you retired at the age of 27, but it’s not the case anymore, especially in the women category. I am also a voracious reader. I read about five books a month, mostly biographies. For example, Abraham Lincoln’s biography; he failed several times, and went on to become the President of United States,” adding that, “Inspiration is found everywhere, and can be applied to any situation” citing the works of industrialists’ such as Tata’s work for charity and the Belinda-Gates Foundation. “It really puts things into perspective. It’s not about having your name on some Forbes rich list. More than what people say, it’s what you do.”

His biggest competitor on court is “his mind” adding that “sports is 50 percent mental and 50 percent physical. It all boils down how badly you want it. While off-court, he said, “It’s the version of who I want to be in five years from now. I want to have a positive impact on people, and how much happiness I can create.” Being a sportsman, has helped his professional life, as it was instrumental in “building character”, and thus has given him a sense of discipline.

Apart from tennis, Reddy has played a number of other sports as well. He said, “It’s funny, I went to the US, and played cricket there as a hobby. Besides that, I’ve also played Table Tennis and American Football too. It gives you a lot of confidence, and your body too adapts and becomes more versatile when you play different sports.”

While he hasn’t been able to catch a Grand Slam as yet, (and he hopes to one day), he’s watched a lot of local matches in Austin, Texas. Ask him about his favourite tennis players’, and he said, “You can’t compare players’ from different eras. Some of my favourites have been Björn Borg, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Pete Sampras. It’s difficult to choose between Federer and Nadal. I prefer both. It really depends on whose day it is.”

If it weren’t for his family business, Reddy said, that he’d “pursue any sport professionally.” Being the youngest CEO (at 23), he said, “Worked to his advantage since you have a lot more energy and are given more leeway if you goofed up. The downside, however, was that people had pre-conceived notions before they met him. But that myth was broken after meeting him. He’s also penned a book called ‘PTO’ (Please Turn Over) that was launched in Dec 2010 by Shobhaa De. This book is essentially a book of original quotes by him.

His future plans for Country Club include massive growth and a lifelong commitment to their customers. When he’s not working, Reddy unwinds at the gym, enjoys reading and meeting friends for dinner when he gets the time.

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