HCL Tennis Masters 2016 seeks to inspire young children




Isn’t it the best feeling in this world when you finally achieve the dreams you longed for, or even reached a point in life that was beyond your imagination?

Four young tennis players earned themselves an all-expense paid one-week training program at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Spain after battling it out in the finals of the HCL Tennis Junior Tour and Masters at the Shiv Nadar University on Friday, November 25, 2016.

HCL Tennis Junior Tour and Masters winners got felicitated by Mahesh Bhupathi and Roshni Nadar Malhotra

HCL Tennis Junior Tour and Masters winners got felicitated by Mahesh Bhupathi and Roshni Nadar Malhotra

The runners-up will be sent to Kochi at one of the high performance centres of Mahesh Bhupathi Tennis Academies for two weeks of training, entirely sponsored by HCL.

“I’m really excited. I made a wish to go to Spain. And now I’m going”, said a jubilant R S Rajesh Kannan (U14 Boys Singles), 14, from Trichy, one of the four winners of the tournament which has been on since August.

The finals of the HCL Tennis Junior Tour and Masters took place on Friday and with temperatures luckily dipping a few degrees, the players were at their very best and the competition for prizes, at its fiercest.

In its initial year, the HCL Tennis Junior Tour and Masters event has become popular among the junior tennis fraternity in India, bringing together no less than 1000 of the India’s best talents in the U/12 and U/14 categories.

“During the course of the Junior Tour, held across four cities – Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow and Pune – each player accumulated precious AITA ranking points adding to their overall national rankings”, explains tournament director, Sharad Kumar. And at the end of the tour, the top 16 ranked players in each category qualified for the Masters Finals here at Greater Noida. And that’s what’s been happening since Monday, players have been battling out in the knockout event all week.

Sharad added, “The prize, all-expense paid one-week training program to the Rafa Nadal Academy in Spain, is one of the main attractions and with that in mind it brings a lot of strong players in to play and I think everyone benefits. It’s a good strength tournament.”

Second seed P Sruthi (U14 Girls Singles) claimed the winner’s trophy, after overcoming the challenge of first seed Mekhala Manna, winning 6-3, 6-2. Throughout the match Sruthi didn’t show any weaknesses and overwhelmed her opponent completely.

On Thursday she trained for three hours, even though she was scheduled for only one hour and a half, said her mother. But she told her mother “I want to play more, I have something very important tomorrow”. I’m glad she’s building up his stamina like this.

Akarsh Gaonkar, third highest ranked player (AITA) in the tournament emerged as the winner in U12 Boys category. He beat Rahul Pamei 4-6, 6-0, 6-4. He did lose the first set 4-6 but came back with an outstanding performance and won the second set 6-0. Akarsh easily handled the decider set too and did won it 6-4.

In the U12 Girls category, Rutuja Chaphalkar beat second seed Vaishnavi Adkar 6-4, 6-0 to claim the title. Rutuja was too strong for her opponent, overwhelming her with her good serve and strokes.

Rutuja said, “I’m very excited. It’s my first real tournament win. I’m really happy to go to Spain to the Rafa Nadal Academy and I’m looking forward to seeing the stars. Especially Nadal, my favourite, the king of clay.”

Mahesh Bhupathi, acclaimed tennis player and India’s first Grand Slam tournament winner was present at the tennis courts watching the country’s rising talent, and presented the winners and runners-up with their trophies after the finals were over.

Results (25th November 2016)

U12 Boys Finals

Akarsh Gaonkar defeated Rahul Pamei 4-6, 6-0, 6-4

U12 Girls Finals

Rutuja Chaphalkar defeated Vaishnavi Adkar 6-4, 6-0

U14 Boys Finals

R S Rajesh Kannan defeated Yashraj Dalvi 6-1, 6-2

U12 Girls Finals

P Sruthi defeated Mekhala Manna 6-3, 6-2

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