It was vibrant, inspiring and overwhelming.
The draw ceremony for the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group I tie between India and Chinese Taipei witnessed a world-class cultural show by a group of school students that left everyone spellbound.
In a crisp, colourful and brilliant show, the students danced in traditional costume, capturing the imagination of the packed arena and stealing the hearts of the visiting team.
The indoor stadium was filled with thousands of school students, prompting referee David Smith to call it the “largest single gathering” for any such ceremony in his long memory.
Thanking the kids for coming out in strength and putting up an unforgettable performance, Rohan Bopanna said the players felt “very special” after watching it.
“I have seen many draw ceremonies but I have never seen so many people. I thank you all on behalf of our team. Hope a lot of you guys come for the matches,” said India captain Anand Amritraj.
All India Tennis Association (AITA) president Anil Khanna said: “we were overwhelmed. It was wonderful, glamorous and elaborate.”Qureshi for Bopanna!
There was a faux pas as the organisers put up a poster of Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, Bopanna’s partner, instead of the Indian’s. It was a television reporter who pointed out this mistake before the draw ceremony, and Qureshi’s poster was hurriedly clipped.
For his part, Bopanna was quite sporting and laughed it off, and was rather happy for his doubles partner and the strength of their bond.
The memorable reception the Indian players received at the Emerald Heights International School, where the draw ceremony was conducted, would have definitely strengthened their resolve to perform well on court.