It was a festive atmosphere at the DLTA Complex, as the players, men, women, boys and girls went through the matches in the talent hunt for the Tennis Premier League (TPL), on Thursday.
“We have kept it a 10-point format, to drive home the fact that every point counts in tennis. Here every point is like a match point’’, said Kunal Thakkur, who has worked hard to build the TPL into a fascinating proposition, along with Mrunal Jain.
Having formed the core with three international players in each of the eight teams, the TPL is adding more players through the Talent Day events in select cities.
Punjab Tigers and Delhi Binny’s Brigade were the ones hunting for talent in the two-day event at the DLTA.
“It is our first season. We are very excited and positive. Am a big advocate of Indian talent. We are in it to win it’’, said Ravinder Singh of Punjab Tigers.
The mentor of the Punjab team, former Billie Jean King Cup player and coach Ankita Bhambri, congratulated Kunal and Mrunal for taking the TPL forward with “live” telecast of the matches on Sony Ten-2, in the fourth edition to be staged at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune from December 7 to 11.
“With Wimbledon champion Matthew Ebden in our team, we look forward to the TPL. Our agenda is to win’’, said Sneh Patel of Delhi Binny’s Brigade. His team will have Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan as the main player.
The Davis Cup captain Rohit Rajpal was happy to hear about the response from young players and assured all help for TPL.
“We are right behind you”, said Rajpal.
Davis Cup coach Zeeshan Ali also lauded the effort to make tennis more popular in the country, as he wished that the TPL would become “the biggest sports event” in future.
Kunal Thakkur briefly explained the drive behind the whole exercise to promote tennis, and pointed out that the men’s and women’s champions from Talent Day would get Rs.50,000 each, while the under-18 girls winner would get Rs.30,000 and the under-14 boys winner Rs.20,000, so as to help them play more tennis tournaments.
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