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Kiran's Tennis Foundation

Kiran's Tennis Foundation
Najaf Ishrati /
Do you Tennis!? goes the catch line of Kirans Tennis Foundation (KTF), formerly known simply as The Tennis Foundation. And it seems that a lot of the citys junior junta is doing just that. Catching Tennis. A little birdie tells me that there are over 40 tennis coaching centers spread over the city, with most of them catering to school children. While we all know who the inspiration is, KTF promises to be a place with a difference. It has positioned itself as the place that beginners, absolute novices, can turn to.

Think of it as the play school near your house which you send your toddler to. Its close, its cheap, and you can always quit and get a better one if you so want. The time your tot spends here is never going to be a waste, because he/she is going to learn at least something.

But the second, and main, reason that you can let your kid come here is simple: At this level, it just does not matter. Later, when they grow up, they can go to an IIM, AIIMS, Oxford, Massachusetts or what not. KTF works very much in the same way. Its raison de etre is to introduce complete beginners to the game, and they have no qualms over letting their students move on to get higher levels of training if they so choose.

With 7 tennis courts spread over the city (4 clay + 3 synthetic), and more perennially in the pipeline, Kiran's gains greater proximity than centers located in just one area which might become a tad far off for some. 5 of these courts are in three schools - Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, International School of Hyderabad, and Meridian School. The remaining two are at Kavuri Hills in Madhapur.

KTF also comes across as an inexpensive alternative. It's Rs. 1,000 for registration (non-refundable), and coaching comes at a monthly fee of Rs. 1,000. Should you not want to play 6 days a week, you could go for the 3-day-a-week option at Rs. 750. 2 days per week will cost you Rs. 500. A single days play for a guest (accompanied by a member) is Rs. 50, while those coming without a member will have to pay Rs. 100.

All sessions last for an hour, but, depending on space and light, you could play on. Some centers are closed on Sundays, while others are on Mondays. You could also play 7 days a week if you so choose, at no extra charge, by going to a different center on one of the days.

So its a win-win deal. Youngsters (especially in the Banjara Hills areas) scared off tennis for want of a court nearby or for the exorbitant fees charged, now have no excuse.

There are 3 sessions of an hour each every evening. The first starts at 4.30pm, the next at 5.00pm, and the last one at 5.30pm. There is a move on to have flood lights at Meridian School, where adults can play and learn after dark.

The coaches, 7 in number, are young but experienced. Most have the required certification. The foundation uses novel methods to teach, like asking the beginners to serve with their eyes closed to develop better co-ordination. Started in 1996 with a prestigious contract of coaching at The Country Club, the Foundation has grown to where it is today. It now has the distinction of coaching students even of the ISB.

KTF has a speed gun, along with a ball machine which it puts to use or hire out for events, tournaments or commercials. It is planning to install this as a regular feature at one of its playing areas, but logistics remains a huge issue.

KTF also holds events like Smash Tennis, where youngsters get to play against celebrities, professionals, and cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. All this, so that they can justifiably ask you one zany question. Do you Tennis!?
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