Tournament Director Paul Hutchins is blogging from India as the first qualifying events for the Road to Wimbledon in India 2015, supported by HSBC, begin in Kolkata...
Today we were at the Bengal Tennis Association HQ. Six floodlight hard courts all in a row and some mini tennis courts.
It was a long taxi ride through the streets of packed traffic with every inch of the way something interesting to view from beautiful expensive shops to small kerbside businesses all selling vary degrees of goods and especially fruit and vegetables. There are just masses of yellow taxis. We have bad traffic in the UK but hey this is something else but sooooooo interesting and such delightful people.
Dan and I did a clinic for 90 juniors who had been at the South Club the day before plus many coaches helping out.
Above the courts sat the parents, Lucy Bennett-Baggs from HSBC and Bengal Tennis Association officials all so interested in seeing the two and half hours of play from the juniors.
After we had finished we were invited to tea in a small room with food laid on in the normal hospitable way we are always treated. Also we just had to taste the local delicacies. Sorry I cannot remember the names but famous in Kolkata like a small cake but oh so sweet!
I have been to maybe five or six cities and regional tennis associations and they all have good facilities, normally hard courts but some clay and plenty of interest from juniors. The different tennis associations are so keen to learn.
As we always say ‘there is no magic stardust we can sprinkle on players to make them better’ but hopefully the interest we are bringing will inspire juniors and coaches to progress at whatever standard they are aiming at.
It is certainly inspiring for Dan and I as we are getting such a positive response.
Find out more about the HSBC Road to Wimbledon.