Tournament Director Paul Hutchins writes his final blog from India as the second of four qualifying events for the Road to Wimbledon in India 2015, supported by HSBC, comes to a close in Chandigarh
Opening the curtains on Saturday morning, the fog was just like a London winter’s day when fog hits the UK.
It was finals day of the Chandigarh Road to Wimbledon brilliantly supported by HSBC, the Official Bank of The Championships and our supporting partner here in India.
The fog soon lifted, leaving behind a dry sunny day for the finals, to be played on hard courts at the Chandigarh Club after rain earlier in the week forced them to move off the grass, implementing the rule that once a surface is changed the tournament remains on hard.
When there is a formal occasion there is always high activity to do the presentation and ceremony well in India and these finals were true to form.
High level dignitaries from the Club, Chandigarh Tennis Association, the brilliant CHART academy and the equivalent of the Chief Administrator of Chandigarh or in proper language the Boss of the City, Mr VK Dev.
He arrived in style, three cars swooping in with security guards following every move. As it was only the finals of the Road to Wimbledon and a beautiful and safe club everyone was totally relaxed and pleasantries were plentiful and Mr Dev was so supportive of all that was involved with the city, right behind the junior tennis activities and the Road to Wimbledon and HSBC junior tennis development programme..
The final of the boys was won by top seed and No.1 14 & under Himanshu Mor who beat Shashank Theertha 6-3 7-6 (6). Shashank won in Calcutta last week so will for sure have enough points for the Masters top 16 in Delhi in April. His big serving game will be a threat to all.
The girls' final was the same as last week with local CHART academy girl and No.1 seed Prinkle Singh beating again Shivini Amineni 6-2 5-7 6-1. With two finals, both will easily get to the Masters. Shivini has lost in 10 finals in 2014 but with good technique I am sure she will turn that around soon.
An interesting semi-final boy was ShashiKant Rajput who just lost to the top seed and winner 6-4 in the third set and was one of many boys taken on by the CHART academy from the rural villages surrounding Chandigarh. The players are assessed at 8-10 years of age on their athletic abilities and then taught tennis.
My main point is that he only started playing two years and six months ago!
A player reaching National standard from nothing and only playing for 30 months is so totally different than all European ways of talent identification and with similar successes with two India Davis Cup players starting this way from the rural villages it is great credit to the academy. An example for us to take note.
I am homeward bound after two really good weeks in Kolkata and Chandigarh and two more Road to Wimbledon events in Delhi and Mumbai before the top 16 qualify for the Masters in Delhi.
I am already planning a great week and with Tim and Dan returning with me it will be a week full of coaching, clinics, coach education, parents' meetings and a few announcements we will make on future activity.
Thanks all for putting up with my blogs!
Over and out for now.
Find out more about the HSBC Road to Wimbledon.