AITA Talent Series Anantapur: A tennis fiesta to begin the new year
Time flew, but the audience was left wanting more as the All India Tennis Association (AITA) Talent Series came to a close with some pulsating tennis, thanks to the 135 participants, most of whom visited Rural Development Trust’s (RDT) Anantapur Sports Village (ASV) and the Nadal Education & Tennis School (NETS) along with their parents and coaches for the first time ever.
The tournament, which was organised for about 65 athletes of the U16 age category in August 2014, was upscaled this year to include both U14 and U16 competitions. The qualifying rounds only hosted 22 athletes and wrapped up quickly after the tournament opening on the 2nd of January 2016.
This saw most of the NETS children get some much needed match practice, as they managed to easily qualify for the main draws. The tournament eventually saw the singles competition for both boys and girls in the U14 and U16 age categories, however the doubles competition was battled for only between the U16 boys.
The truly inspiring singles competition unfurled after the lull from the qualifying rounds, and the first three days of the competitions went way past their expected time due to the high quality competition, as the games went on till about 11pm amidst the floodlit ambience of the NETS.
Each of the matches involved sheer passion and grit, making every point earned, a hard-fought struggle after long extended rallies.
The U14 boys’ singles title was settled in straight sets by A. Deepak who beat S. Syaraniyan 7-5, 6-0. However, A. Deepak, who also managed to reach the finals of the U16 category, got a taste of his own medicine as he was overwhelmed by Varun Vaiko Durai with a scoreline of 6-2, 6-1.
The girls’ competition saw a similar result as V Lakhmi Sahiti Reddy beat Sai Loukya 6-3, 6-3 for the U14 title, but then lost to local girl D. Pallavi in the U16 competition. Pallavi had her odds stacked up with expectations set really high after her Doubles win last year during the AITA CS in July after missing out on her singles opportunity.
However, this time she did little to disappoint, as she fought through the ranks in the girls’ U16 competition, eventually beating V Lakshmi Sahiti Reddy after digging deep to come back from down under to win 5-7, 6-1, 6-3.
The final showcase was the doubles which proved to be as exciting as the singles. This one, however, was a see-saw battle with a scoreline of 6-3, 4-6, 10-5, with the winners Arjun Sriram & Nitin Vegesna edging Abhinav Nallappa Reddy & Shashank A Narde.
The parents were all praise for the entire facility at the RDT’s ASV and the organisation of the tournament at the NETS. They also spoke greatly about the children from the NETS, “It is unbelievable that these children come from villages.
Their less reserved personas barely reflect this, and then their playing style is very unlike the most Indian playing styles. These children are a very gifted bunch being able to train thanks to the efforts of RDT,” one of the parents said.