Mumbai: Paiasvini Rao and Yatiraj Karhade won the inaugural District Sports Office (DSO) zonal soft tennis titles in the U-19 Girls and Boys categories respectively at the Mumbai Schools Sports Association's tennis courts at Azad Maidan on Saturday.
Yatiraj Karhade (left) and Paiasvini Rao. Pic/Suresh KK
In the girls' final, 13-year-old Paiasvini beat Darsha Shetty of Thane 11-4. Meanwhile, in the boys' final, Yatiraj beat Rahul Baliga 11-9 to emerge winner.
It was a relatively new experience for players who participated in the tournament. Paiasvini agreed to play the sport for fun but it was during practice she realised that it wasn't as easy.
"I am basically a tennis player, so learning soft tennis wasn't difficult. When I started practicing at the Don Bosco (Matunga) tennis courts under coach Sunil Sainani two weeks ago, I realised that one needs to really bend a lot unlike tennis," said Paiasvini, a Class IX student of JB Vachha High School (Dadar).
The key difference between tennis and soft tennis is that the ball in the latter sport is made of rubber that's much softer. Speed, agility and perfect timing make exciting play. Soft tennis balls are soft, hollow and light. White and yellow are the official colours.