Calling shots on the line

Calling shots on the line

Calling shots on the line

Being on the courts at Wimbledon is a dream for every tennis aficionado. While few get a chance to play on the courts of Wimbledon, only handful get to call the shots on some of the world’s best players. Sagar S Kashyap speaks to Manish about his experiences at the oldest Grand Slam.

It is. I mean, all this history and tradition which we have in Wimbledon, it’s enough to just have a look. History of this tournament, it’s for me most privileged, sorry, most prestigious and the highest possible tournament that is in sports. Just playing here and feeling this atmosphere, a lot of fans of course have a big knowledge of tennis. They respect players. They appreciate what you are doing. It just feels good to be there. -
Novak Djokovic, Serbian tennis player.

Come Monday, June 18, city-based Sagar S Kashyap will be one of the 74 officials, who will be literally calling the shots at Wimbledon. Sagar has been part of Wimbledon for the past three years as a chair and line umpire and will this year be part of the main draw.

For Sagar, the affair with Wimbledon started in 2009 when he first officiated in the qualifying rounds of the prestigious tournament. Later, he was recalled in 2010 for the qualifying rounds and junior tournament. In 2011, he was selected to officiate in the main draw up to the quarterfinals.

With 19 match courts and an equivalent practise courts, Sagar revealed that being in Wimbledon was a dream come true. And getting to officiate in matches, where the best of the world are vying of the title, is the icing on the cake.

The 26-year-old is an engineering graduate from Vidya Vikas Institute of Engineering and Technology. He also happens to be the youngest White Badge official in India and also the first person from Karnataka to achieve the honour, Sagar has been upgraded from L4 to L3 in the upcoming Wimbledon. He said L3, means he would be able to officiate in all courts except the Centre Court.

He hopes that in a couple of years, he will be able to be a part of Centre Court.
In order to make up for it, he and his wife Madhurya Prakash have booked a seat on Centre Court to watch the women’s finals. He is the son of Satyanarayan, a businessman, and homemaker Manjula.

2500-pound kit

Apart, from being part of the matches, the best thing is that at Wimbledon each of the officials are given a kit worth 2500 pounds comprising of blazers, trousers and shirts. Designers make sure that everything on the dress fits you perfectly.

The dream match, however, took place at Doha at the Qatar Open, where he was a line umpire for the semi-final match between clay court champion Rafael Nadal and grass court conjuror Roger Federer. “Going on court was very special... It was hard to concentrate, but loved the game,” he recalls.

The list of tournaments he has officiated in 2012 includes Chennai Open, WTA in Thailand, ATP in Singapore and Denmark. In 2011, he was part of Chennai Open, Wimbledon, Swiss Open, WTA in Korea, ATP and WTA in Japan.  He has also been umpire for Davis Cup match between Sri Lanka and Hong Kong held in 2010.

His tryst with officiating started at Nagaraj Tennis Club, where he was assigned by coach Nagaraj to schedule the under-12 and under-14 matches and ensure that everything went on smoothly. He mentioned that Nitin Kanambar, a Gold Badge referee, who would be participating in his 19th Wimbledon, guided him on umpiring.

Disclosing his long-term plants, Sagar wants to look at refereeing as it is a stress-free job as compared to umpiring.

While planning to pursue his MBA, Sagar says that he has ended up on the international-circuit thanks to a good group of friends, who have always supported him throughout his college.

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