Two new locations have been added to the Road to Wimbledon junior tournament reaffirming the commitment of The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) and HSBC to tennis in India in 2016.
Indore and Hyderabad will host events in January, building on last year’s announcement that the Road to Wimbledonwould remain in India for a further three years, before the tournament continues to Delhi and Mumbai in February and Kolkata in April.
Former Great Britain No.1 Tim Henman will spearhead the Road to Wimbledon in both Delhi (February 1-6) and Mumbai (February 8-13) whilst All England Club Head Coach Dan Bloxham will be in Indore (January 11-16) and Hyderabad (January 18-23).
Aimed at boosting the development of junior tennis in India, the Road to Wimbledon is a tournament for players aged Under 14. Following a successful pilot in 2014, last year marked the first year of the AELTC, HSBC and the All India Tennis Association’s (AITA) three year commitment to tennis in India, with the Road to Wimbledon taking place in Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh.
The top 16 boys and girls from across the four qualifying events are invited to the Road to Wimbledon Junior Masters to be held this year on the grass courts of Kolkata with the two boys and girls finalists invited to compete in the UK HSBC National Finals on the grass at Wimbledon in August. After making a winning debut in 2014 when Siddhant Banthia won the boys’ singles outright, last year saw Indian players go one better as Sacchitt Sharma retained the boys’ crown and Mahak Jain won the girls’ title.
Road to Wimbledon ambassador Henman, an 11-times ATP World Tour winner and four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist will also host a series of coaching clinics, coach education workshops, local school visits and parent education workshops during the events in Delhi (RK Khanna Tennis Centre) and Mumbai (MSLTA Tennis Centre) whilst Bloxham will take the reins in Indore (Indore Tennis Club) and Hyderabad (SAAP Tennis Complex).
Henman, who kick-started his career in India in 1994 with three successive tournament wins on the Indian satellite circuit, said: “It was great to see that both the boys’ and the girls’ winners of the 2015 Road to Wimbledon were from India and it clearly demonstrates the huge wealth of untapped potential here – this is exactly why the AELTC, HSBC and AITA are committed to this great programme.
“I’ve been coming to India for more than twenty years and as a player I enjoyed a lot of success here so it has a special place in my heart; now that I’ve retired, it’s fantastic to be able to give something back to this wonderful country – I can’t wait to be back in both Delhi and Mumbai and see the next generation of Indian tennis players in action.”
Anil Khanna, President of the AITA, said: “The Road to Wimbledon has already proved to be a great platform for Indian tennis and opportunity awaits again in four different cities in 2016. We’re lucky to have a great team working with us with Tim, Dan and Tournament Director Paul Hutchins plus all of our colleagues at the AITA – it’s exciting to see where The Road to Wimbledon takes us next.”
Tournament Director Paul Hutchins, former British Davis Cup captain, added: “It’s fantastic to have Tim and Dan with us again this year and there’s no doubt that their passion and expertise has a huge positive influence on the young talent coming through here. The addition of Indore and Hyderabad, plus our continued presence in Delhi and Mumbai, is a major step forward for the Road to Wimbledon in 2016. As always, this year I am very appreciative of the AITA and local regional India Tennis Associations for their support.”
HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship & Events Giles Morgan said: “We are incredibly proud to be a long term supporter of Wimbledon which is one of the most iconic sporting events on the planet; however, underpinning all of our international flagship events is an emphasis on the future and an ambition to create a positive legacy by investing in youth development and grassroots programmes which is exactly why the Road to Wimbledon is so important to us.
“I think the results over the last two years speak for themselves and the impact of the young Indian players has been nothing short of sensational – it bodes really well for the future of Indian tennis and we look forward to watching the latest chapter in a remarkable success story unfold in Indore, in Hyderabad, in Delhi and in Mumbai.”