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Karim Khan, Akansha Nitture triumph in Tennis Premier League’s Mumbai Talent Day selection trials

From left: Kunal Thakur (TPL co-founder), Radhika Tulpule (mentor, Pune Jaguars), Karim Khan (men's winner), Punit Balan (owner, Pune Jaguars), Shyam Patel (owner, Mumbai Leon Army), Nittin Kirtane (men's No. 2), Mrunal Jain (TPL co-founder)
From left: Kunal Thakur (TPL co-founder), Radhika Tulpule (mentor, Pune Jaguars), Karim Khan (men's winner), Punit Balan (owner, Pune Jaguars), Shyam Patel (owner, Mumbai Leon Army), Nittin Kirtane (men's No. 2), Mrunal Jain (TPL co-founder)

Karim Khan and Akansha Nitture emerged men's and women's champions respectively in the Tennis Premier League’s Mumbai Talent Day selection trials. The competition was recently staged at the MSLTA tennis premises in Mumbai.

While Karim opted to join Pune Jaguars, Akansha chose Mumbai Leon Army. The two will join professional players in the Tennis Premier League to be played from December 14 to 18, 2021.

Also making the grade as the second best were Nittin Kirtane and Laalitya Reddy. Kirtane will join Mumbai Leon Army while Laalitya will turn out for Pune Jaguars. All four took home cash prizes of Rs 50,000 each.

While Kirtane will join Ramkumar Ramanathan and Niki Poonacha in the Mumbai Leon Army, Karim will get an opportunity to play alongside Saketh Myneni. Akansha will join hands with Georgia’s Sofia Shapatava on the Mumbai team while Laalitya will partner Rutuja Bhosle at Pune Jaguars.

Ruma Gaikwari bags Under-18 title

The Under-18 tournament for girls was won by Ruma Gaikwari, with Bhumika Tripathi finishing second. Gajanan Mangela triumphed in the 35-plus age category, followed by Ramzan Shaikh.

This was announced by TPL co-founders Kunal Thakur and Mrunal Jain at a press conference at the MSLTA.

Also present on the occasion were Radhika Tulpule, mentor of the Pune team, along with team owners of Shyam Patel (Mumbai Leon Army) and Punit Balan(Pune Jaguars).

The co-founders promised an enthralling championship this year, saying the TPL aims to create an environment which is the perfect amalgamation of sports and entertainment.

“We are excited that this year we will also be having international players playing in the league. We are so happy that the entire tennis fraternity comes forward every year to make this league a success. The intention is to make tennis win and we are extremely grateful to AITA and MSLTA for their unconditional support," Thakur said.

A total of 400 players registered for the Mumbai Talent day selection trials across various categories to clinch different age-group slots on the Mumbai team.

“We are thankful to all our owners and sponsors who have shown such faith in our league. All I can say is that this is just the beginning. We intend to make the league one of its kind in India. The live telecast of all matches will be something very exciting for Indian tennis players and their fans,” Jain said.

Tennis Premier League (TPL) teams

Mumbai Leon Army: Ramkumar Ramanathan, Nikki Poonacha, Sofia Shapatava (Georgia)

Delhi Binny’s Brigade: Yuki Bhambri, Manish Sureshkumar, Pangtarn Plipuech (Thailand)

Chennai Stallions: Purav Raja, Sidharth Rawat, Samantha Murray Sharan (Great Britain)

Bengaluru Spartans: Jeevan N, N Srirama Balaji, Sabina Sharipova (Uzbekistan)

Hyderabad Strikers: Arjun Kadhe, Vishnu Vardhan, Ankita Raina

Rajasthan Tigers: Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Aryan Goveas, Diana Marcinkevica (Latvia)

Gujarat Panthers: Divij Sharan, Vijay Sundar Prashant, Valeryla Strakhova (Ukraine)

Pune Jaguars: Saketh Myneni, Ishaque Iqbal, Rutuja Bhosle

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Edited by Sanjay Rajan
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