City-based tennis coach and Western Railway employee, Nitin Kannamwar, 47, is nurturing a long-cherished dream. After making the city proud by officiating as linesman in the women’s singles final and men’s singles semi-final match at the Wimbledon this year, Kannamwar now dreams of playing referee for the centre court in grand slam tournaments.
Kannamwar, who began paying tennis in 1977, officiated more than 75 matches this Wimbledon tournament. Only 300 officials, from across the world are selected to officiate the Wimbledon. He stood in the women’s singles final match that figured Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova and also assisted the chair umpire in the semi-final match between Rafael Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
This year, there were five Indians at the Wimbledon to officiate the main draw matches including Kannamwar.
“I kept on climbing the levels and now wish to umpire for the Centre Court and court number one in grand slam tournaments,” said Kannamwar. “It feels great to represent the country at such level.”
The Shivaji Park resident, who works as an office superintendent at Churchgate station since 1988, has officiated the Wimbledon for 14 years. “I officiated the Wimbledon continuously from 1994, barring three years between 1998 and 2000,” said Kannamwar, who has just returned from London and is now headed to Korea.
He added, “I had little idea how these international matches were held. I only watched them on television. But in 1994, I was exposed to the Wimbledon and realised how systematically these games are conducted.”
A member of the International Tennis Federation’s and a gold badge referee, Kannamwar has also had the opportunity to serve as an official at the Australian Open, French Open, US Open, Olympics, Davis Cup and the Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi last year.
Praising the use of technology in international matches, Kannamwar said, “The technology they use is very good as it yields unbiased results. It has minimised the problems of umpires.”