USIC vs India 2015
2015 Report – USIC @ India IC
New Delhi and Mumbai, India
In June 2014, the USIC hosted a team from the Indian IC at the Chevy Chase Club in Washington, DC, and the Marion Cricket Club in Philadelphia, PA (https://www.usictennis.org/past-event/224). From November 20 – 27, 2015, the Indian IC returned the favor and hosted a team from the US at the Delhi Gymkhana Club in New Delhi (https://delhigymkhana.org.in/index.php) and the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) (http://cciclub.in/). The USIC was joined at the Gymkhana Club by a member of the Hungarian IC. Pictures of the week’s events are posted at https://picasaweb.google.com/nicholsonclandc/USICIndiaIC?authkey=Gv1sRgCNr0yomcxbrPcw and https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredir?uname=100955850747411913308&target=ALBUM&id=6224786980054386449&authkey=Gv1sRgCPO3qqjUxvqP8wE&feat=email
The Indians generously agreed to host the foreign players in their homes, so after lunch with their hosts on Friday, the Americans and some of the Indians went to the Gymkhana Club for an afternoon practice session on some of the club’s 26 grass courts. The club also has 4 clay and 3 lighted hard courts. Among other major events, the club hosted Davis cup matches in 1961, 1970 and 1978. The club is bordered on one side by the Indian Prime Minister's residence and on the other by Indira Gandhi's former residence.
Each of the Indian players was presented with a gym bag in the IC colors. Following tennis and the Indian tradition of post-match court-side tea and toast, everyone returned to their host’s home for dinner. Some of the Americans even got to go to an Indian wedding.
On Saturday afternoon, the Indians provided a court-side lunch before the formal matches. In the interests of maximizing the opportunity for Indian players to play, the teams played 1-set matches. The Indians prevailed decisively on the afternoon, and the teams began mixing up for friendly play. Everyone played 2-4 sets over the course of the afternoon. After more post-match tea and toast, everyone took a couple of hours to relax before the dinner hosted by the Indian IC at the Gymkhana Club.
After another court-side lunch, Sunday afternoon’s friendly play started with teams pairing Americans and their hosts, and then matches were formed as courts and players became available. Again, everyone played 2-4 sets over the course of the afternoon, and after more post-match tea and toast, everyone took a couple of hours to relax before the dinner hosted by the President of the Indian IC, Vikas Singh, at his home.
At the dinner, the Indians named Fred Drilling and John Nicholson from the USIC as honorary members of the Indian IC, and the US named Amitabh Sood and Sohini Kumari as honorary members of the USIC. In addition, both the USIC and Indian IC gave honorary membership to Róbert Pátkai, the lone player from the Hungarian IC to make the trip to India.
Monday involved a day of sightseeing in Delhi, followed by a dinner hosted by the USIC at the Grand Hotel in New Delhi.
Tuesday involved a bus trip to the city of Agra to see the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort. Vikas Singh arranged for the team to be met at the Taj Mahal by a police escort and a local government official.
On Wednesday, the team flew to Mumbai and, after checking in at the CCI, did some sightseeing around Mumbai. Where the weather in New Delhi was cool and moderately humid, the weather in Mumbai was full-on tropical.
After a relaxing morning and lunch, the US team took to the CCI’s hard courts for some afternoon warm-up to get used to the surface and the heat and humidity. As the Indian IC players arrived, they were paired up with Americans for friendly sets over the course of the afternoon/evening. After a photo session with CCI President Kekoo Nicholson (along with generous gifts of CCI gear) and the presentation of the gym bags to the Indians, all of the Americans played 2-4 sets with various partners before a dinner at the CCI hosted by the Indian IC, led by former Indian Davis Cup player Nandan Bal.
The Indians in both New Delhi and Mumbai could not have been more generous or hospitable, and the level of organization and effort demonstrated by Sanjeev Kassal, Honorary Secretary of the Indian IC, was amazing. Those playing the Columbus Cup in India next year are certain to have an incredible experience and challenging opponents.
|Robert Van Malder|
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