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Road to Wimbledon in India - Over and out

Adil Kalyanpu beats Siddhant Bantia to win the Road to Wimbledon India
by Paul Hutchins
Saturday 12 April 2014

The Road to Wimbledon has returned to Delhi, India, for the Junior Masters finals. Tournament Director Paul Hutchins blogs from the finals day....

It was the last day of the Road to Wimbledon Junior Masters here in Delhi with the top two boys and girls coming over to our own HSBC Road to Wimbledon National Finals in August 2014.

And what a week it has been. Here are some of the highlights and activities:

  • Really good matches and what a prize the 16 boys and girls were fighting for –‘ London here we come’
  • ‘Dry Days’ in Delhi when government rule that no alcohol is allowed to be drunk meant that even the mini bar in my hotel room had all alcohol removed for the actual days!
  • Dan Bloxham and top Indian coach Vishaal Uppal conducting many clinics to the juniors and local children.
  • Strong media presence at the Finals from written, TV and digital media.
  • My trip to a local ‘marginalised community’ to see how Magic Bus, the well-known charity, operates in these difficult circumstances with assistance and support to especially the young children stuck in a spiral of poverty.
  • Continuing discussions with the All India Tennis Association and the Asian Tennis Federation on ways in which we can project the junior development ideas surrounding the Wimbledon Foundation, Road to Wimbledon and HSBC for the benefit of Asian tennis.
  • The visits and hospitality always offered so generously while sampling really good Indian cuisine in families' homes and restaurants. 

But the main subject was the tennis and good to see so many keen juniors wanting to play and improve.

Congratulations to Adil Kalyanpu who beat Siddhant Bantia in the boys' singles final, and Shivani Ingle who had a marathon match beating Arja Chakraborthy in the girls' singles final.

Both matches were lengthy in the heat and despite both pairs knowing they had qualified for the UK Finals, they all fought to the last point. We even offed both girls at a set all the chance to play a tie-break third set but no they both wanted to take on the full set which they did with distinction.

It will be really good to have all four winners at the HSBC National Finals at the All England Club in August and all arrangements for their stay will now be put in place.

Few will have played on grass but I tell them that the Wimbledon courts are so good that it will seem like they have converted to playing on a soft carpet with no bad bounces. You can imagine they are looking forward to the whole experience of interacting with the UK players as well as being the centre of attraction at the Indian-themed players party where I will ask all the UK finalists to dress in something with an Indian theme! Jonny Parker the head of catering at the Club will soon be getting a call from me to think about the India (Bollywood?) evening!

In conclusion, this was a really good conclusion to the Indian junior tennis pilot scheme and we look forward to hosting the winners at Wimbledon in August.

Over and out.

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