Chaos reigned at the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) courts yesterday on Day One of the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) inter-school tennis tournament.

Anxious parents and participants during the inter-school tennis tournament
Anxious parents and participants during the inter-school tennis tournament at MSLTA. Pic/Atul Kamble.

With mid-term exams in progress in most schools, many participants failed to show up, leaving a bunch of infuriated parents and frustrated kids having to suffer an endless wait for their matches.

In the boys U-12 category, Hrimay Shah of Don Bosco (Matunga) was scheduled to play Mukund Kedia of Bombay Scottish (Mahim) at 10:20am, but he ended up playing the match only post-lunch at 2pm. Hrimay lost 1-6.

Delayed start
Don Bosco tennis coach Sunil Sainani was furious. “We took special permission from our school principal to pre-poned today’s term exam, so that our boys could participate in the MSSA tournament. Hrimay had a match at 10:20am. As per MSSA rules if the opponent doesn’t turn up within half an hour, the player present gets a walkover. My player was forced to play his match immediately after having his lunch. If there are issues, it is MSSA’s duty to inform us in advance,” Sainani told mid-day.

Hrimay blamed the delay for his defeat. “I appeared for my maths paper early (7-9 am instead of the normal 10am-12pm for other students), so that I could make it in time for my 10:20am match. I waited for my opponent till 12pm, before deciding to have lunch. Then, suddenly my match was announced. As I had just eaten, I felt heavy and couldn’t move well on court and lost,” said Hrimay.

Wrong opponent
Meanwhile, in the U-16 category, a player from Arya Vidya Mandir HS (Juhu), who did not wish to be named, said he only realised that he had played his first round tie against a wrong opponent, after the match was over.

MSSA tennis secretary AP Rodrigues, however said there was nothing wrong in the scheduling. “We were only trying to accommodate matches for the kids, who were present here. Yes, there was an issue with the 10:20am match. The Bombay Scottish player requested us to delay the match as he had his term exams. But from tomorrow, we won’t entertain any requests from parents or schools, and straightaway award walkovers,” said Rodrigues.

An MSLTA official on condition of anonymity said that the fixtures were a mess. “In today’s internet era, MSSA is making handwritten draws. That caused all the confusion today.”