Wimbledon aims to give viewers ‘different experience’; AELTC takes steps to popularise tennis in India, says Ankita Raina

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Wimbledon aims to give viewers ‘different experience’; AELTC takes steps to popularise tennis in India, says Ankita Raina

New Delhi: The All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) is one of the most prestigious committees in tennis and hosts and manages the oldest tennis event in the world, the Wimbledon. In an exclusive conversation with IANS, tennis star Ankita Raina shares what makes Wimbledon so prestigious and AELTC’s initiatives to popularise tennis in India.

“It is the dream of many tennis players to go and play at the iconic venue. In tennis, there are four Grand Slams, but I would say that, you know, Wimbledon is a bit more special. And I would say that it’s a bit harder because there’s a lot of heritage around it. And there are some things which you can only experience when you’re once there,” Raina told IANS.

The AELTC is committed to bringing fans of The Championships, and Wimbledon in India an improved viewing experience, as the popularity of the event continues to increase. Year-on-year viewing figures in India increased, by +96% in 2023 compared with 2022, and entries into this year’s Wimbledon Public Ballot from fans in India rose by +74% compared to last year.

“As we all know, it’s a prestigious event, one of the biggest tennis events. They are trying to engage more and more fans in India with Wimbledon for tennis and, you know, giving a different kind of experience. And this time they have also has come up with the Hindi commentary, which I feel is a great step, which I think will help the sport, tennis, going to the, you know, rural areas as that will help more and more fans, more and more people to maybe get a hang of the sport and get to know more about the scoring system,” added the Indian tennis star.

As part of this, the All-England Club has announced an agreement with Star Sports Network, which will see The Championships broadcast with Hindi commentary for the first time. This initiative will be further supported by localised social media content and an array of influencers to generate excitement and drive a deeper connection with Indian fans.

To support these efforts, the British Embassy in New Delhi will host a special screening event on July 13 with up to 100 invited guests -– including embassy dignitaries, influencers, athletes, and All-England Club representatives to watch the ladies’ singles final.

Going to The Championship is a once in a lifetime opportunity for any player and Ankita got the opportunity to participate in the games, a memory which she believes was a ‘dream come true.’

“It was like for any other player, you know, a dream come true. Because when you start playing tennis, it’s the highest level of event where you want to be, where you want to represent yourself, represent your country. And I do remember this one occasion when I was in the players’ area, dining area, and standing on the balcony viewing all the courts. And Roger Federer was just a few metres away,” fondly recalled Raina.

Raina has eleven singles and 25 doubles titles on the ITF Circuit in addition to one title each on the WTA Tour and one WTA 125 tournament. The 31-year-old went on to talk about how India is ‘doing great’, in Tennis and the impact that has had on the sport.

“I think we are doing great. Like, you must have seen that we have now, you know, a lot of men’s players in the doubles top 100. Also, we had Sumit Nagal and Rohan at Wimbledon. Having a representation, a flag bearer there definitely gives you a lot of boost and motivation. And personally, I have played in that event so I know what kind of impact it has made,” she concluded,

 


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