The Wimbledon Foundation, the philanthropic wing of the All England Club and The Championships which is also responsible for its progress, has unveiled its new initiative ‘The Road to Wimbledon’ in India. The motive of which will be to step-up the efforts to encourage youngsters to take up tennis and provide them with better opportunites and facilities, in combintaion with the All India Tennis Association (AITA).
The Road to Wimbledon will have two singles events in Delhi (w/c 6 January 2014) and Mumbai (w/c 13 January 2014), rounding off with the Junior Masters at the RK Khanna Centre in Delhi (w/c 7 April). The tournament is open for both the genders, who are aged 14 and under. The top 16 from the two events combined will qualify for the Junior Masters, the finalists of which will be invited for the UK National Finals held at the All England Club, Wimbledon, in August 2014.
Philip Brook, Chairman of the All England Club, said: “Launching The Road to Wimbledon in India is a first for the Wimbledon Foundation and represents an exciting, imaginative and important development.
“We are greatly appreciative of the help and organisation of the All India Tennis Association (AITA) and we look forward both to a long and successful partnership, and to welcoming the first finalists to the lawns of the All England Club at our UK National Finals in August 2014.”
According to the official website of the Wimbledon: “Anil Khanna, President of the All India Tennis Association (AITA), said: “It is with much pleasure that the AITA have been asked by the Wimbledon Foundation to expand The Road to Wimbledon events in our country.
“We are very keen on extending the opportunities for juniors to play tennis and the direct link with Wimbledon will raise awareness of these opportunities, while at the same time young players will benefit from the educational clinics given by Dan Bloxham.”
Speaking at the launch in Delhi, Paul Hutchins, former British Davis Cup Captain and Tournament Director of The Road to Wimbledon, said: “To extend The Road to Wimbledon to India is an exciting prospect and we have received excellent assistance from the AITA. We will be staging the events jointly and each event will be an opportunity to raise awareness of the work of the Wimbledon Foundation, as well as introducing The Championships to the juniors.
“For the finalists of the Masters there is the added incentive of being invited to the UK to play on the famous grass courts at Wimbledon. With the addition of the tennis clinics to players and coaches, it promises to bring fantastic tennis education and development to two of the major cities in India.”