For Vishaal Uppal, the biggest lessons from sport have been to encourage "camaraderie" on and off the field and extending "warm feelings" towards those who need help. The assistance could be in any form as he realised during the ongoing worldwide crisis caused by COVID-19.
The former Davis Cupper, who was part of the campaign that saw India come up with its best-ever Fed Cup show, having qualified for the play-offs, was moved by the plight of the Delhi Police.
As a small gesture to help them carry on their duty, Uppal donated 50 face shields on Wednesday. “We donated these shields to the Defence Colony Police Station. My foundation called 'MAD for Sports' has been distributing these to frontline workers and I will give them to tennis coaches and workers once tennis restarts,” said Uppal.
According to Uppal, “As citizens we have to support the COVID-19 warriors in whatever way we can. The health workers and the police are doing a fantastic job and it our duty to keep their morale high. An NGO is making these face shields and I ordered it from them. These face shields are very useful if you have to go into crowded areas.”
The 'MAD' in the name of his Foundation stands for 'Making a Difference'. As Uppal explained, “I started this foundation this year and it’s main aim is to help make sports more accessible to kids and also help those who want to pursue it further.
The Foundation has already conducted a tennis event (Men’s AITA Ranking) in February. It, stressed Uppal, also plans on getting kids from nearby villages in Delhi and the NCR (National Capital Region) and introducing them to the sport. "There is awesome talent waiting to be spotted and groomed.”
Uppal also plans to raise funds for various coaches who are struggling to run their households. “With COVID-19 striking us all it is tough times for many of these coaches who work at academies and clubs. I am trying to help some struggling tennis coaches. I am just giving them some money right now so that they can keep their house running. There is nothing else that can be done right now. But I will try to raise funds for them.”
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