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Pune to host international ‘Maharashtra Open’ tournament next year

Top players, including Federer, likely to play at the event

Written by Anjali Marar | Pune |
Updated: July 18, 2017 10:31:33 am
Maharashtra Open, Association of Tennis Professionals, Maharashtra Open players, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, ATP competitions, Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association  Roger Federer (File)

Pune is all set to play host to the international tennis tournament — ‘Maharashtra One’. A part of the ATP World 250 series, the event is organised by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and will be held at Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi for five consecutive years, starting January 2018. The international event will give Puneites a chance to watch world’s top four tennis players — Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick — in action.

Tamil Nadu had been hosting the event, titled Chennai Open, for over two decades. Pune will be one of the world’s 28 venues to host ATP competitions. It is learnt that the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) is also mulling over relaying the match court ahead of the January 2018 tournament. Project director of Maharashtra One, Prashant Sutar, said, “Since players will be heading straight for the Australian Open from Pune, we aim to provide them with a similar surface.”

The Maharashtra government, which is spearheading the event, has entrusted a committee, headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, along with top officials from the CMO, chiefs of both the municipal corporations, along with MSLTA officials and members of school education and sports department, to oversee the event. Confirming the development, Sutar said, “It is a moment of achievement for the state and we are hopeful of bringing top-level players.”

Meanwhile, top three Indian players are also expected to join the international tournament as wild card entries. Funds for Maharashtra One are being sourced by CSR activities from multiple stakeholders, including Pune Municipal Corporation, Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, IT and automobile companies, among others.

About the estimated budget, association members said, “While civic bodies can contribute from their annual sports budget, we will be discussing the same with various city-based companies, banks and other organisations. An estimated budget of Rs 10-12 crore is what will be needed.” Commenting on existing facilities available at the Balewadi Sports Complex, officials said, “The present condition of the court surface and other facilities are of international standards, which is why the sports complex could get all required approvals. We will be working on improving the landscape and undertaking few other works of renovation, giving it a world-class feel.”

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