London (UK) and Delhi (India): The Wimbledon Foundation, the charitable and development arm of the All England Club and The Championships, Wimbledon, today announced the launch of The Road to Wimbledon in India, a new initiative aimed at boosting the development of junior tennis in the country. India is the first country where Wimbledon has run an event of this kind outside the UK.
In partnership with the All India Tennis Association (AITA), the Wimbledon Foundation unveiled plans to increase tennis opportunities for junior players with the establishment of two National 14 and Under events in Delhi and Mumbai in January 2014, culminating in a Junior Masters tournament in Delhi in April 2014. The finalists of the Masters will be invited to the UK National Finals held at the All England Club, Wimbledon, in August 2014.
In addition, the Wimbledon Foundation will stage a series of educational tennis clinics to be given by Dan Bloxham, Head Coach of the All England Club, which will be held during the January events in Delhi and Mumbai. Further details will be announced nearer the time.
Philip Brook, Chairman of the All England Club, said: “Launching The Road to Wimbledon in India is a first for the Wimbledon Foundation and represents an exciting, imaginative and important development. We are greatly appreciative of the help and organisation of the All India Tennis Association (AITA) and we look forward both to a long and successful partnership, and to welcoming the first finalists to the lawns of the All England Club at our UK National Finals in August 2014.”
Anil Khanna, President of the All India Tennis Association (AITA) said ‘It is with much pleasure that the AITA have been asked by the Wimbledon Foundation to expand The Road to Wimbledon events in our country. We are very keen on extending the opportunities for juniors to play tennis and the direct link with Wimbledon will raise awareness of these opportunities, while at the same time young players will benefit from the educational clinics given by Dan Bloxham.”
Speaking at the launch in Delhi, Paul Hutchins, former British Davis Cup Captain and Tournament Director of The Road to Wimbledon, said: “To extend The Road to Wimbledon to India is an exciting prospect and we have received excellent assistance from the AITA. We will be staging the events jointly and each event will be an opportunity to raise awareness of the work of the Wimbledon Foundation, as well as introducing The Championships to the juniors. For the finalists of the Masters there is the added incentive of being invited to the UK to play on the famous grass courts at Wimbledon. With the addition of the tennis clinics to players and coaches, it promises to bring fantastic tennis education and development to two of the major cities in India.”
How ‘The Road to Wimbledon in India’ will work
The Road to Wimbledon in India will comprise two singles events in Delhi (w/c 6 January 2014) and Mumbai (w/c 13 January 2014), followed by the Junior Masters at the RK Khanna Centre in Delhi (w/c 7 April).
The tournaments will be open to boys and girls aged 14 & Under. The top 16 from the two events combined will qualify for the Junior Masters. The boys’ and girls’ finalists in the Masters will be invited to the UK National Finals held at the All England Club, Wimbledon, in August 2014.
The Wimbledon Foundation is the community and charitable arm of The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Using the heritage and resources of Wimbledon, the Wimbledon Foundation’s principal aim is to bring together and enhance in a more cohesive, coordinated and effective way the extensive programme of community, development and charitable activities currently undertaken by the All England Club and The Championships.
The HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 and Under Tournament in the UK is the largest junior tournament on grass in the UK. Begun in 2002 and involving clubs, parks & schools for juniors 14 & Under. 700 clubs, parks and schools participate through to 44 county finals and 128 boys & girls qualifying for the National Finals played on grass at Wimbledon.