When ball kids fluffed the lines
A part from Indonesia’s Wisnu Adi Nugroho, who suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Somdev Devvarman, the other person who had a tough time in the opening Davis Cup Asia Oceania Group I play-off tie was chair umpire Saibal Banerjee.
Putting his vocal chords to the test in trying to silence the noisy Bangalore crowd amidst handling various calls, Banerjee also had to marshal the ball kids who had very little clue of the task they were entrusted with.
During the early stages of the match, Banerjee had to repeatedly instruct the kids to pick up the balls that crashed into the net and also ask them to release the balls to the other side after change-overs.
Although the players too appeared bemused at the happenings, they chose to look at the lighter side if it, especially Somdev. “It’s hard to get mad at the kids,” said the Indian during the post-match media interaction.
“They’re out there doing their bit, obviously they will be nervous. They are kids, maybe from (coach) Zeeshan (Ali’s) academy. When I was a ball kid I used to be nervous too. There was this one girl, I asked her for the ball and she took my racquet. Nervousness is like human error.
“At the Wimbledon or the French Open, these kids are like robots. “They are like trained professionals and are even not allowed to laugh. Kids at the French Open especially take great pride in their duty. They are trained for over eight months. So whenever they hold an umbrella during changeovers, we crack jokes to make them laugh.”
Hosting a Davis Cup tie after 28-long years, the Karnataka State Lawn Association certainly had a day to remember on Friday.
Several VVIPs were in attendance for the clash while former tennis stars too made it to the KSLTA Stadium to enjoy the action.
Member of Parliament and president of the KSLTA SM Krishna kicked off the tie by releasing balloons to the sky while former stars Anand Amritraj, Dechu Moola and Udaya Kumar were in attendance cheering every stroke of Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri.