Delhi, Pune in summit clash

Delhi, Pune in summit clash

Delhi, Pune in summit clash

The Champions Tennis League has reached the end of its 10-day stretch. The final between Delhi Dreams and Pune Marathas at the R K Khanna Stadium on Wednesday will bring curtains on the inaugural season.

The format has got the positive feedback from the players with the foreign tennis stars insisting they will be returning with fond memories of their stay here. For the Indian players, it had been an enriching experience of sharing the courts with the current and former stars of the game.

Said Indian Davis Cupper Saketh Myneni, who represents Pune: "It was a blast for me, getting to play with Marcos Baghdatis and then watching him play (in men’s singles). It was a great exposure talking to them."

The foreign players, in return, have good things to say about their Indian counterparts, especially the juniors. The 1987 Wimbledon champion Pat Cash, for instance, admitted to being surprised by the level of Indian juniors. “I am very impressed by them. They are better than I had expected. They are very close to breaking into the top league. It is an exciting format, crowd liked it. We are having fun but it is serious tennis,” Cash, who plays for Pune, told reporters on Tuesday.   

The 49-year-old, who is yet to win a rubber in the league, will be playing the opening legends match against Spain’s Juan Carlos Ferrero, who had impressed everyone with his sharp game.

“It will be an honour to play him. It's a very good team effort. We were consistent and fought really well," said the 34-year-old Ferrero.  World No 16 Kevin Anderson plays men’s singles for Delhi.

Their teammate Jelena Jankovic, besides looking forward to her clash against “tough opponent” Agnieszka Radwanska in the women’ singles, echoed Cash’s observations about the Indian players. Asked what she would like to tell the Indian girls, Jankovic said: “To believe in themselves. I also come from a small country like Serbia. They too can and do even better. Helping the next generation of players, I am happy I came,” she said. 

The CTL chief Vijay Amritraj was satisfied the way the league panned out. “First year is always a challenge but we had remarkable players who supported us in what we wanted to achieve. They encouraged the juniors and gave six cities remarkable display of tennis. The matches went down to the wire. Next season a couple of reserve players will be added,” he said.