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Blogging from the Road to Wimbledon in India - Hello Mumbai

The Road to Wimbledon reaches Mumbai
by Paul Hutchins, Tournament Director, in Mumbai
Monday 13 January 2014

Paul Hutchins provides the latest update as the Road to Wimbledon, a grass roots tournament run by the Wimbledon Foundation, travels to India.

We have moved from Delhi to Mumbai and can reflect on a great and enjoyable visit to Delhi with such enthusiasm from all we did with the coaches and players.

Visually through pictures is the best way of people fully appreciating what we did in Delhi and now in Mumbai.

The Road to Wimbledon tournament was concluded in Delhi on Saturday after the morning mass clinic which Tim and Dan again so expertly controlled with Vishaal Upaal and the RK Khanna tennis centre coaches.

The night before we attended a HSBC Corporate dinner at the Taj Hotel when veteran player and well known broadcaster Vijay Amritraj hosted ‘an evening with Tim Henman’.

A look back to the past for Tim when he first played in India and launched his career with 3 tournament wins as well as his career at Wimbledon and around the world inter spaced with film and video clips meant that the dinner was a great success for the audience.

A Q&A and Vijay putting questions to the audiences to win Babolat rackets and bags ended a good evening of entertainment.

The standard of the U14 Road to Wimbledon was good and the players reaching the quarter finals pricked up valuable points to try to qualify for the Road to Wimbledon Junior Masters in April. Some of the Delhi players were also playing in the second event in Mumbai to make sure of enough points to qualify for April.

Moving to Mumbai, apart from a fog delay, was good and we arrived late Saturday night to weave our way through the ever present traffic. With 25 million plus residents of Mumbai it is just one vast city that never sleeps with contrasting sights and customs every inch of the way to the hotel. It is an amazing experience with our hotel adjacent to the Gate of India with pageants, festivals and music ever present.

Dan and HSBC Tennis Ambassador Tim went straight into more clinics Sunday morning with the players playing in the Road to Wimbledon Mumbai tournament before they played their qualifying matches.

Five really good hard courts at the MSLTA centre were used with Mr ‘energy’ Dan Bloxham hyping all the juniors to respond positively to the expertise and enthusiasm of Tim and the tennis centre coaches.

The clinics were followed by more qualifying rounds of the tournament and a media conference and photo call with the juniors and local Mumbai media.

We even had pictures of the players and coaches tasting strawberries and cream to keep us in the mood of the Championships. We also were using the Championships Official Slazenger tennis ball and with great Wimbledon Foundation and HSBC branding all around the courts we felt like home from home and great for the juniors to experience.

The Campion school was next on the clinic agenda the day after on Monday. Paul Machado, the school Principal welcomed us to their school assembly with 200 boys attending to greet Tim and Dan.

It began with a song from the boys written specially for our visit and the morning visit included video clips of the Championships, Tim’s career and the HSBC Road to Wimbledon film created at the 2013 UK Finals as well as some questions put to Tim from 6 of the boys.

The assembly was followed by a school clinic and the continuation of the Road to Wimbledon.

A memorable visit to an amazing city with like Delhi people being so hospitable and keen with lots of interest from the juniors.

These have been ‘new pastures’ for the newly formed Wimbledon Foundation and the global bank support of HSBC. The two Wimbledon Foundation Road to Wimbledon tournaments will give us the top 16 boys and girls for the junior masters week 7 April 2014 and what a great prize for the two boys and two girl finalists of the masters coming over to our HSBC National Finals in August.

Find out more about the Wimbledon Foundation and the HSBC Road to Wimbledon.

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