The insti has its own Federers and Williams and we stand as testimony to this fact as we saw the tennis team practicing their backhands and forehands on the court. We were more than glad to get a few insights into the making of these stalwarts. Abhishek Kelkar puts together all that you need to know about this year’s Institute Tennis Team in the second article of the Inter-IIT series. Read along to know more!
Note: The credits for the photographs in this article go to Swapnika and the Sports Organizing Committee. We thank the media club for their support!
- The preparation:
A casual day in the camp generally comprises of a minimum of five well-planned hours spanning a morning and an evening session which includes various drills, practise matches and on court team strategizing hours with the coach Mr. Suresh Babu who has been coaching insti tennis teams for the past 10 years and has also coached a lot of national level players . While the practice during the semesters included a minimum of three hours every day with the captain enthusiastically adding that they would miss out on dinner every other day as-a-matter-of-factly!
As the complete squad agrees, the two-year gap seems like a major hurdle to overcome which has affected the practice sessions immensely. As they rightly claim, because of the gap, it is difficult for the team to determine who are their biggest competitors and gauge their strengths and weaknesses. But the team hopes to top the group with easier group matches and consider Bombay and Kharagpur as difficult opponents. Although, Kanpur bagged the gold last time, the team has graduated and the new team might prove a bit difficult too. The team boasts to have been coached by an imminent tennis player Mr. Ramesh Krishnan (world rank 23, 1985) and his daughter Gayatri Krishnan for over a week during the semester as a part of mini-camp.
- The team selection:
Both the captains, Keerthana and Aneesh claim that the selection process was excruciatingly painful with the selection matches going on for over a month with multiple sets of matches for the boys.The competition for the boys’ team was so fierce that twelve players were competing for two spots. But on the brighter side, this time there was a myriad of freshies and newbies who have given the team an edge as it encompasses people from final year experts like Vivek and Ankitha to a very amusing freshie like Sakthi (read as Shakti).
Keerthana makes a very good point when she speaks up about the women’s’ Schroeter which brought forth a lot of tennis enthusiasts and which culminated into the building of a very strong team.
- The team:
Vivek, one of the final years boasts of unparalleled skills with the racquet in doubles. While Ankitha, already a captain for the past two inter IITs, has gained the captain’s confidence of being the best amongst all the girls. Ankitha mentions her disappointment with the fact that they could not achieve the gold on the home grounds last year despite the whole team knowing their ropes. The ladies are more than confident to not miss their mark this year.
- The captains:
When we asked the guys about the leadership, we had vivid responses from Junaid and Vivek. While Aneesh asked them to “be gentle”, they enjoyed slandering his name mercilessly. All the members unanimously declared the captain as lazy although they do say that he is their best player and takes up authority well while considering others opinions too.
In much contrast with Aneesh, Keertana is said to be the most hard working person on the team who hits the courts judiciously and is stringent when it comes to the timings and practice.
As a few parting words, the captains addressed the squad- “Be regular with the practice. Don’t worry about the matches or the opponents, just play your best game and we will win.”