Kia Motors today at an event in New Delhi announced its biggest-ever squad of ballkids to represent India at the Australian Open in January. As part of this initiative, more than 1800 young tennis enthusiasts from across India attended open try-outs for the opportunity to represent their country in the elite Australian Open ballkid squad, with Indian tennis legend Mahesh Bhupathi working as their mentor.
Kookhyun Shim, Managing Director & CEO of Kia Motors India on this occasion said, “I am very happy to see the overwhelming response from young tennis enthusiasts for the Australian Open Ballkids International Program presented by Kia. This program will definitely boost the interest of kids towards tennis and would give them an opportunity to experience the sport in its truest form. It gives me immense pleasure to bring this program to India”.
Hand picked by Australian Open officials the selected Kia Indian Ballkid Squad comprises of Sarthak Gandhi, M Varshith Kuar Reddy, Naman Mehta, Ankit Pillania, Akshit Choudhary, Sonam Dewan, Ribhav Ojha, Swati Malhotra, Jennika Jaison and Ananya Singh who hail from different parts of the country.
During these try-outs more than 100 kids were shortlisted through various tests that comprised of five different rounds testing the kids on their athletic and communication skills such as rolling the ball, speed & agility, throwing the ball and communication skills.
“I am thrilled to be part of this exciting initiative and am sure that the Australian Open Ballkids International Program presented by Kia will foster tennis amongst the young talent of India. This program is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the kids and will definitely motivate them to enhance their skill to make India proud in years to come,” commented Mahesh Bhupathi. He further added, I believe that 12-15 years is a critical and formative age for tennis enthusiasts and also serves as a deciding factor for them. Kia’s initiative will definitely encourage young Indians to work hard, sharpen their skills and shine at global tennis championships.