After a gap of 33 years, Pune will host the National Junior Tennis Championship. The city had last hosted Ravalgaon Junior Nationals in 1984. It will be a tennis bonanza for junior players, as Pune will host three back-to-back major events, starting May 20. The event would begin with 12th Ramesh Desai Memorial Junior Tennis Nationals for Boys and Girls-16, followed by the HCL Asian Junior B1 ITF Tennis for Boys and Girls Under 18, and the Asian ATF Under Championships. The events will be organised by the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA), along with PMDTA at the MSLTA school of Tennis, at Shiv Chatrapathi Mhalunge Balewadi Sports Complex.
“We expect over 200 entries of the top Under 16 boys and girls from across the country for the junior National championships. Scholarship of over Rs 3 lakh would be given to players from the first round. While the Boys (16) main draw will be of 64, the Girls (Under 16) main draws will be of 48,” said Sunder Iyer, secretary, MSLTA. The tournament, held in the Under 12 and Under 16 categories, is organised annually to commemorate the memory of Ramesh Desai, former secretary general of AITA and the former honorable secretary of MSLTA.
In his illustrious career in tennis, spread over 48 years, Desai had held several important posts. He was the honorable secretary for tennis, CCI, Mumbai, from 1958 to 1960. He also conducted International Tennis Matches of Jack Kramers in 1959 and 1960 at CCI. He was also instrumental in organising and conducting a number of tennis tournaments in Maharashtra, including the Davis Cup ties at Mumbai and Pune.
“The tournament serves as an ideal memorial for Ramesh Desai and his values of promoting tennis at a junior level,” said Bharat Oza, president, MSLTA. While the Under 16 event is being held in Pune for the first time. The Under 12 event is being organised at the MSLTA complex in Mumbai.
ITF White badge official Vaishali Shekatkar will be the supervisor for the event, the qualifying rounds will be held between May 20 and 21 and the main draws will start from Monday 22.