City boy Adil Kalyanpur is among the four young Indian tennis players who will head to Wimbledon to play on the world famous grass courts as part of a new initiative aimed at boosting junior tennis in the country.
Earlier this year, the Wimbledon Foundation, The Championships and official partner HSBC teamed up with the All India Tennis Association (AITA) to bring 'The Road to Wimbledon' to India for the first time. The initiative is designed to give Under-14 players an opportunity to improve their game.
Following a series of qualifying events involving more than 200 children, two boys, winner Adil Kalyanpur from Bangalore and runner-up Siddhant Banthia of
Pune and two girls, winner Shivani Ingle from Pune and runner-up
Aarja Chakraborty from Noida, booked their dream ticket to London.
The four youngsters will now take their place along with the best juniors from Britain in a 64-strong field at the UK HSBC National Finals at Wimbledon from August 11 to 16.
Adil, who failed to progress past the semi-finals of the two qualifying events won against Siddhant Banthia 1-6 7-5 6-4 to clinch the boys (U-14) title in Delhi.
Adil also won against Delhi qualifier finalist Saurav Kalkal in the semi-finals. In the other semi-finals, a repeat of Mumbai qualifier final, Siddhant Banthia won against Vikas Singh.
Son of Arjun Kalyanpur, a radiologist, and Sunita Maheshwari, a paediatric cardiologist, Adil has been playing tennis from a very young age. Joining a training centre during the vacations near his house, Adil took to the game like a fish to water.
After a brief stint under Rajini Ravindran of the Tennis And More Sporting Academy (TAMS) in Whitefield, Adhil joined the junior advanced programme at the Tennis Excellence Centre.
Adil also trained with Madeleine Sanchez and Arnaud Petel, a French couple in the city. Adil is all serious about his game and keeps fit with a more than four-hour workout everyday.
He bagged the Little Mo international tournament in the US and became India's top under-12 player in 2012. Victories in some AITA and state tournaments kept Adil's hunger for more success burning. He might have a chance to meet his favourite players, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, who will possibly be coming to Bangalore for the Davis Cup World Group tie with the Serbian team in September.
Former player and tournament director Paul Hutchins and Wimbledon head coach Dan Bloxham were present during the Delhi finals when Adil won.
"Indian players have good skills but they need to improve their physicality and fine-tune the technical aspects. It is important that they keep competing against international players, especially Europeans," said Bloxham.