For the first time 21 years Chennai will not host India’s lone ATP tour tournament. Instead, it has been confirmed, according to PTI that the competition will now be held in Pune and called “Maharashtra Open.” It was earlier reported that the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association won’t be able to host the tournament this year due to its inability to match the financial requirement of main organiser IMG.
“We welcome the world class ATP tournament to our state,” said Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, “We are happy to host the Maharashtra Open and sure that we will take it to newer heights by bringing in an elite field every year,” he added.
“We would like to thank everyone in Tamil Nadu, especially our innumerable fans, the Tamil Nadu government and the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association for making the Chennai Open such a grand success,” IMG-Reliance’s spokesperson said.
The Chennai Open is an ATP-250 tournament and one of the most important fixtures in the Indian sporting calendar. It has often attracted top players including 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal. Wimbledon 2017 runner up Marin Cilic and 2016 US Open champion Stan Wawrinka have also played in the Chennai Open in their early days.
“We look forward to similar love from tennis fans in not just in Pune and Maharashtra but in every part of the country,” the IMG spokesperson said, “We have created a tennis legacy and have also provided our young players the opportunity to not only play against the best but to also pick up crucial points in world ranking system,” he added.
MSLTA’s secretary Sunder Iyer and Tournament director Prashant Sutar were equally upbeat at the prospect of hosting the ATP tournament.
“We have the best tennis infrastructure in the country. We will strive our best to make the world’s best players and our own, feel at home,” they said.
India’s Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi forged their formidable partnership at the Chennai Open, before they went on to conquer the world.