The All India Tennis Association (AITA) and IMG Reliance have joined hands to develop the latent tennis potential in the country. As part of this initiative, Tennis Coaching legend Nick Bollettieri is visiting India to identify the talent in the country. Under the aegis of AITA, trials will be conducted under the watchful eyes of Bollettieri for selection of young tennis players for the IMG Reliance Scholarships for India programme.
The programme is a unique initiative to identify talented Indian athletes, who will be provided with full sporting and academic scholarships to train and coach at the IMG Academies in Brandenton, Florida, United States of America.
Nick Bollettieri is accompanied by Miguel Rosa, a leading tennis coach from IMG Academies.The IMG Academies has an enviable track record in playing a critical role in the development of some of the most renowned names in the world of Tennis including Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, Maria Sharapova among others. India’s current leading young tennis player Yuki Bhambri has also trained at the Academy.
Over 50 talented boys and girls, identified by AITA and in consultation with coaches across the country, took the selection trials on 11th and 12th July 2010 at R. K. Khanna Tennis Stadium, New Delhi. The talented tennis players, aged between 11 -15 years, undertook the trials. Upto 15 youngsters from this talented pool will qualify for the second phase of the trial, which will be organised atBrandenton in August 2010.
At the end of phase two of the selection process, upto four tennis players are expected to become full time scholars at the IMG Academies beginning from
September 2010. These youngsters will continue at the Academy till their education is completed, and will receive first class academic instruction as well as first class sports coaching. Their performance will be analyzed every year and accordingly the scholarship will continue.
The selected candidates will enhance their tennis skills at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy (NBTA) facilities, a state-of-the-art tennis players’ paradise located within the confines of IMG Academies in Bradenton, Florida. The aim of the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy is to produce tennis players that have been armed with a multi-faceted approach which includes blending the technical and strategic on-court training with specialized performance physical training and mental conditioning, along with a custom designed academic curriculum. The Bollettieri approach not only builds athletes on the court, but more importantly, prepares them for a successful life off the court as well.
Commenting on the initiative, Anil Kr. Khanna, Hon. Exec Vice President & Secretary General, AITA said, “The IMG Reliance Scholarships for India is an exciting proposition to the hundreds of talented players in the country. AITA has always recognized the need for quality grass roots programme for developing potential in this country and we are happy to partner IMG Reliance Scholarships for India in their endeavor to identify and hone talent under the legendary Nick Bollettieri. The initiative augurs well for the future of Indian tennis and developing world class Indian players.”