As pros fight it out at the Aircel Chennai Open, kids try their hand at a different form of tennis

After dropping the first set, David Goffin fought back and beat Xavier Malisse at the 17th edition of the Aircel Chennai Open. On another ‘court' at the venue, Rafael Nadal offered little resistance and went down in straight sets to Roger Federer. While Malisse's defeat will affect his ATP ranking, Nadal's will not — because the Nadal-Federer clash was make-believe.

The ‘match' was played with a Nintendo Wii console — installed at the Aircel stall in the Nungambakkam SDAT tennis stadium — by Kaushik (Federer) and Vigneshwar (Nadal). This is just one of the many instances of business houses drawing young visitors to their stalls — at the stadium — with tennis-based online and offline games.

Invariably, these youngsters try these games during the interludes between the Chennai Open matches. After the Hanescu-Querrey match, Praveen steps on to the ‘Wii court' at the Parle stall, and he looks every bit a tennis player. Wearing a cap as if to ward off the blistering sun, and wielding the Wiimote as if it were a tennis racquet, Praveen vanquishes Ashok Babu, and wins a packet of Hide&Seek biscuits.

Getting innovative

Offline games display innovation. At the Preethi Kitchen Appliances stall, children try tennis shots with make-shift racquets and balls — a non-stick cookware serves as the racquet and dosas as balls. The one who tosses a dosa and catches it with the cookware most number of times wins. The winners take home an autograph book with images of the players competing in this Chennai Open, and probably the joy of having tasted some sort of victory at the premier tennis event.

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MetroplusJune 28, 2012