India to host first Wimbledon tennis event outside UK
New Delhi: Former Great Britain No.1 Tim Henman will be in India to spearhead a new initiative aimed at boosting the development of junior tennis in the country.
India will host the first Wimbledon tennis event outside the UK as 11-time-Tour winner Henman will be in Delhi and Mumbai later this month to launch ‘The Road to Wimbledon’ with a series of coaching clinics and events offering local children the chance to play at Wimbledon next August.
The clinics are part of two Under-14 National singles events in Delhi (RK Khanna Tennis Centre) and Mumbai (MSLTA Tennis Centre).
The top sixteen boys and girls from these two events are invited to the Wimbledon Foundation Junior Masters in Delhi in April with the two boys and two girls finalists invited to compete in the UK HSBC National Finals on the grass at Wimbledon.
Henman, who kick-started his career in India in 1994 with three successive tournament wins on the Indian satellite circuit, will be joined by All England Club Head Coach Dan Bloxham, for the activity in Delhi and Mumbai between January 6-14.
The Wimbledon Foundation, the community, charitable and development arm of the All England Club and The Championships, Wimbledon, and HSBC have linked with All India Tennis Association (AITA) on this pilot scheme as the first phase of a long term plan to support the development of Indian tennis.
“India has a special place in my heart – 2014 marks twenty years since I made my breakthrough on the Indian satellite circuit, winning eighteen successive singles matches. This is pretty much where it started for me and thanks to The Wimbledon Foundation and HSBC this could be the start for a whole generation of Indian children,” Henman said.
“The activity in January is just the beginning of The Road to Wimbledon India and I can’t wait to see how we can help develop tennis in India over the coming years,” he added.
Philip Brook, Chairman of the All England Club, said: “Launching The Road to Wimbledon in India is a major landmark for us and it’s superb that both Tim and Dan are going to be so closely involved. 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 next August.”
President of the AITA, Anil Khanna said: “It is great news that Tim Henman and Dan Bloxham are coming over to Delhi and Mumbai with The Wimbledon Foundation and HSBC.
“It will also be a good opportunity for the AITA to discuss with The Wimbledon Foundation and HSBC some future ideas to assist junior tennis in India.”