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Vishal Koul

Pursuit of Happiness

Striking it hard
Tennis helps Deal4Loans co-founder Rishi Mehra to stay fit as well as humble

Madhuri Rao

“I love the winning. I can take the losing, but most of all I love to play” is one of the popular quotes by the legendary tennis champion, Boris Becker. These words and the icon himself are the main sources of inspiration for Rishi Mehra, co-founder, Deal4Loans, to ace higher in tennis.

Hailing from Amritsar, Mehra moved to Delhi when he was ten. Like every other boy of his age Mehra was actively playing the street version of the most religiously followed sport in the country, cricket. But with the entry of Boris Becker, an equivalent rage for tennis had erupted across the world. “In the late 80s, people were going mad about Becker’s triumph and there was a flare amongst the youngsters for the game,” recalls Mehra. Coincidentally, a new sports complex with two grass courts had come up near his house and this led young Mehra and three of his friends to try their hands at this regal sport. “I realised that in cricket, winning and losing is a result of the team’s efforts, but in tennis, everything is dependent on you. You can’t blame anybody but yourself,” he says. As tennis stands as a testimony to the individual strength and perseverance, Mehra says that he also realised that it tests one’s scientific ability to judge and gauge situations. “Tennis is not just about hitting. It is about stamina, grit, composure and controlling the ball,” he says. 

For Mehra, each day starts at 5.30 a.m. playing tennis at the Yamuna Sport Complex until 8 a.m. It is this unforgiving schedule that helped him win the singles title consecutively for three years in the annual tournament arranged by the Delhi Development Authority. But that doesn’t mean he is not getting his dose of fun.  Interestingly, ask him who his regular play partners are and he says it’s the children who come to learn tennis at the sport complex where he practices. “Not many experienced players are interested to play with children as it is no fun for them. But, if the children play against them, apart from learning from their coaches, they will learn the techniques faster,” states Mehra.

How does tennis help him in his day job of running an online loan portal? Mehra says it helps him strategise what is right and wrong. He makes a fair analogy of tennis and applies the lessons learnt at the court to his core business strategies. “The true sportsmanship that I have learnt on the court has helped me to be humble and look at my employees as my friends,” he narrates. “This has made the work environment more amicable,” he says. He further adds that playing helps him to acquire clarity on things. “I count my day as success if I practice tennis for two hours every day in the morning. This helps me to concentrate and focus on my work much better,” Mehra says.

To increase his endurance quotient, Mehra has started running since 2009 and has participated in three half marathons until now. Mehra chooses to run whenever he is travelling and is unable access a tennis court. As he looks up to Becker for his inspiration, has been eyeing to win more matches in singles in the upcoming DDA tennis tournaments. 

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