Juniors to get boost from AITA initiative

 As a part of an initiative between All India Tennis Association (AITA) and Wimbledon Foundation, two girls and two boys from the country will get an opportunity to participate in the United Kingdom's national championship next year.

 Called 'The Road to Wimbledon in India', the initiative, aimed at boosting development of junior tennis in the country, will comprise two singles events in Delhi (January 6, 2014) and Mumbai (January 13, 2014). The tournaments will be open to boys and girls aged 14 and under. The top 16 from the two events will play the Junior Masters at the RK Khanna Centre in Delhi (April 7).

The finalists of the Masters will be invited to the UK National Finals held at the All England Club, Wimbledon, in August 2014. India is the first country where Wimbledon has run an event of this kind outside the UK.

In addition, the Wimbledon Foundation, the developmental arm of Wimbledon, 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.

The partnership was announced on Wednesday by AITA secretary-general Bharat Oza and Paul Hutchins, former British Davis Cup Captain and tournament director of ‘The Road to Wimbledon.’

“When we looked at the Asian market, we found out that India, China and even Brazil are the markets we can start with. The market in India is potentially large, so we decided to begin from here,” said Hutchins.

“Wimbledon is the strongest brand in tennis, especially for the two weeks when the tournament is happening, but we want to expand it. The initiative will also allow our National championship to have international players.”

Oza said: “We also want to prepare more grass courts in the country. To start with we want to have the tournament in established centres and that is why we have chosen Delhi and Mumbai.”

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