Bengaluru, May 18: About 37 aspiring young tennis stars from Bengaluru who feature in the top list of AITA rankings had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when they served and volleyed with the 14-time Grand Slam Champion Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, International Event Ambassador for TCS World 10k on Saturday here at the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA).
The Tennis Clinic organised by Procam International supported by KSLTA and sports goods Partner for TCS World 10K -- Asics, had budding tennis players and coaches mesmerized as an exuberant Sanchez Vicario held her sway on centre court at the KSLTA where she played nonstop for an hour alongside kids varying from as young as six-years-old to 18 years of age. She also played against India's No.1 Wheelchair tennis player Shekar Veeraswamy at the Clinic that lasted over 90 minutes.
Among the talented set of players, it was six-year-old Srishti Kiran, of Baldwin Girls School in the city, who surprised the tennis ace with her powerful shots and ability to hit back to Sanchez who tested each player's skill, and ability to remain agile and swift on the court. "I see these kids put in a lot of passion into their game but when I shifted from hitting shots to them and made them move around, they seemed a bit lazy on their footwork," Sanchez said without mincing words.
"You must move lateral to the ball than forward towards the ball. Don't wait for the ball to come to you, but you must go after the ball and always try to do what your opponent does not like -- something as simple as hitting the ball away from them," she advised the kids.
Former World No. 1 Sanchez, loved world-wide for her stern on-court disposition, often showcasing that slugger's mentality on the baseline, she always sent out a message to her opponents with each stinging forehand shot. So when a player asked her about her mental makeup in the grueling 1995 Wimbledon Final where Sanchez was up against Steffi Graf in the final, she said, "It is important to show your grit and determination against your opponent. You need to work for every point. In tennis, even if you had a bad start, you can always make up for it. You must never give up and always stay positive. It is only a matter of winning one ball and losing the other. I gave my 100 per cent in that Final and never gave up."
Sanchez not only had advice for the kids but she also told the parents to be more patient with their children. "I had my parents drive me around for matches and I can imagine it is a tough life for parents because you put in equal effort and money but never put pressure on your kids and be patient with them," she said.
Speaking about having Arantxa Sanchez Vicario at KSLTA, PR Ramaswamy, honourary Joint-Secretary said, "It was a great pleasure for us to have Arantxa Sanchez Vicario at KSLTA today. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these budding tennis players to interact and play with her one-on-one. She was articulate in expressing to the kids about the temperament required to play at the highest level and how they handle pressure. I am sure these lessons will stay with them for a long time."