Friday, May 09, 2003
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The championship series aimed at developing grassroots talent in the country, envisages four zonal championships culminating with a Masters event. The zonals will be held in Mumbai (May 14 to 17), Delhi (June 4 to 7), Chennai (July 23 to 26) and Kolkata (September 10 to 13). The Masters will be held at Bangalore at the Nike Bhupathi Tennis Village, from October 1 to 4.
The events include boys and girls' singles and doubles in the under-14 and under-12 sections. Each zonal and the Masters event would have a draw of 32 with 20 direct acceptances, eight qualifiers and four wild cards. The doubles would have a draw of 16 with 14 direct entries and two wild cards.
The players would get AITA points in the under-14 section and circuit points in the under-12 section. The acceptance list for the Masters will be decided on the total points obtained by each player in all the four Nutrine tournaments. The format has been made flexible and it is not mandatory that the players participate in all four zonals to qualify for the Masters.
At the media meet to mark the launch, Mr. Krishna Bhupathi of the Nike Bhupathi Tennis Village, which is conducting the Series under the auspices of the AITA, called the championship series as a welcome addition to already existing Nike series for the under-14 and under-12 players.
"It is a wonderful support to grassroots tennis in the country. The ITF has identified that the correct age to start competitive tennis is 12 years and it is this area that is being addressed by the Nutrine series,'' said Mr. Bhupathi.
Mr. C.S. Sunder Raju, secretary KSLTA, said "the Nutrine series would provide the critical mass for the development of tennis in the country and a sustained effort in this direction would secure the future of tennis in the country.'' Mr. Sunder Raju, while lauding the Nutrine sponsorship, called for more corporate support to the game.
Mr. V. Dinesh Reddy, director Nutrine Confectionery Company Pvt. Ltd, said that his company had supported several sports events including sub-junior cricket, volleyball and swimming and he was happy to be associated with this event. He hoped that it would give a major fillip to Indian tennis. He said all efforts would made to conduct the series in a professional manner and on an annual basis.
Mr. Reddy announced that besides attractive scholarship money, for zonal and Masters winners, the top four players of the series in the Masters, would be given an opportunity to travel abroad and watch ATP events.
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