The Delhi Masters, played on the famous grass courts of the Gymkhana Club, ended in 40 degree heat with players fighting to the last ball, with the girl’s singles winner Sandeepti Singh Rao in particular expressing amazing desire and absolute pleasure in winning her first Road to Wimbledon title.
Jumping into her parents’ arms after the match, Sandeepti, as well as the worthy runner up Sarah Dev, both earned their place in the Finals of the Road to Wimbledon, played in the week beginning 14 August at Wimbledon.
The boy’s singles matches, especially at the semi-finals stages, were very keenly fought with the number one seed Sandeep VM beating Denim Yadav, with both players earning their invitation to the Finals in August.
They will be tough to beat on arrival.
All 32 competitors – 16 boys and 16 girls – had qualified based on a points table, with points accrued throughout the previous four qualifying Road to Wimbledon events played in Bangalore, Pune, Kolkata and Chandigarh in January and February.
However, the Indian boys and girls will also be up against the players from China and Hong Kong, as this year we have participants from three overseas countries for the first time.
The Gymkhana Club has historic links to past great events being played on their manicured lawns.
With 27 grass courts it has to be one of the largest grass court venues in the world and the ground staff did an excellent job of preparing and maintaining the courts for the Masters and my thanks to the President and committee for hosting the Masters.
The famous past Indian player Vijay Amritraj, a Tennis Ambassador of Rolex, attended the media conference and helped Dan Bloxham with a Magic Bus charity clinic, recalled plenty of past stories of his playing days and offered advice to the Road to Wimbledon juniors just starting their tennis careers.
The Wimbledon Foundation also announced the continuation and three-year expansion of funding to the children’s charity Magic Bus, where such great work has been done introducing tennis into the sports development curriculum in marginalised Delhi communities.
Dan and I, as well as Tim Henman, have been to a number of community visits and we are always humbled with the pleasure the juniors get with the weekly Magic Bus volunteers helping to improve the difficult lives of the communities.
The juniors are so pleased, enthusiastic and happy to be involved and it was such a pleasure for us to host 20 kids and volunteers at the Gymkhana Club as well as an afternoon of tennis fun with a community visit
Recent Road to Wimbledon events in Beijing, and future events soon to be staged in Hong Kong and Nanjing, will see six girls and six boy join up with the UK Finalists who will have come through their respective regional venues, with a total of 144 juniors at the Finals.
2017 was the fourth year we have been associated with the All India Tennis Association which has been a good partnership. Hopefully with all the different cities we have visited over the years as well as clinics, coach education and parents’ meetings we have made a positive impression while communicating and promoting the Wimbledon brand and qualities and expanding the reach of the Road to Wimbledon.
The Indian juniors who we have hosted at Wimbledon over the recent years have not only taken Road to Wimbledon titles home but are now looking forward to playing in Wimbledon junior events this year as several are climbing the ITF junior world rankings so get accepted into the main draw during the second week of The Championships.
At least they will have had good preparation on grass and it will be good to see all the Road to Wimbledon overseas players gradually fulfill their ambitions in the professional game having played Road to Wimbledon events at 14 & under level.
My thanks to all concerned as so many people are involved in the success of these events from National Federations, clubs and the facilities we stage events at as well as all the parents, coaches and players who travel to play the Road to Wimbledon, all of whom have aspirations to get to Wimbledon for the UK Finals, and aim higher and higher if they are good enough to look to a professional career in the game
My thanks to all concerned.
The Road to Wimbledon