(Last Updated on : 22/07/2014)
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) is the supreme authority of lawn tennis in India
and all the state and district associations are affiliated to it. The AITA organises various tennis tournaments at different levels like district, state or national, with the help of its member associations. The main objective behind organising these tournaments is to bring up new talents in tennis in India and also to provide the players with a competitive feel. The AITA is also in charge of selecting the Indian National team for participating in various International tennis tournaments like the Davis Cup. It takes notice of good performances of the players in the Indian Tennis tournaments, while selecting the national team.
History of All India Tennis Association
Established in March 1920, the All India Lawn Tennis Association (AILTA) was formed at Lahore. It was the organisation that governs all kinds of Tennis related activities in India. The AILTA became the apex or the controlling body in India, was responsible for arranging all the table tennis matches and tournaments in India. Gaining fame, the organization expanded and formed Provincial Associations which are today known as State Associations. These associations were affiliated to former organization, AILTA. In early 1980s the name of the association changed to All India Tennis Association. From the beginning of the 1990s tennis in India started getting a new look. The financial position of the Association has enriched considerably. The Association founded a full-fledged modern National Stadium at Delhi
with a seating capacity of 5000 spectators in 1996.
The first President of the AILTA was a British member of the Indian Civil Service (ICS) named Mr. Samuel Perry O'Donnell and he was elected President in the first AGM. The first AGM of the AILTA also took the decision to hold the annual "All India National Championships" at Allahabad
It decided to participate in the internationally acclaimed Davis Cup competition, as well. The AITA organised the Inter Provincial Tournament for the first time in 1922 and this yearly competition had been a regular feature till the eve of World War II in 1939.
After the World War II was over, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) decided to conduct two tournaments at all India level. It implemented its decision and organised one tournament on the Grass court, termed as National Championships of India and the other one was named the All India Hard Court Championships. The AITA allowed the foreign players to play in the National Championships, as well. The first ever Grass Court National Championship was organised at Kolkata
's South Club, popular as 'the cradle of the game in the country' in 1946.
Activities of All India Tennis Association
Apart from organising various national level tournaments, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) also has the credit of organising the first ever Asian International Championship in Calcutta in the year 1949-1950. Though the AITA organised a few Grand Prix tournaments during the 1970s, none of the tournaments could meet with much success as the prize money was too little due to lack of funds. The decade of 1990s was quite a fruitful decade for the AITA, as it became successful to improve its financial position significantly during this decade. With the help of stronger financial condition, the AITA constructed a full-fledged modern National Stadium at Delhi in 1996. The stadium has a huge seating capacity of 5000 spectators. Though the headquarters of the AITA were being roaming from the cities like Kolkata, Delhi and Chennai
for several years, in the initial period, it finally shifted to its permanent location at the R. K. Khanna Tennis Stadium in 1996.
Honorary lifetime president of the All India Tennis Association (AITA) and Padma Bhushan awardee Raj Kumar Khanna died recently after a brief illness.