Reports : Chennai Open's venue may shift to Pune

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Reports : Chennai Open's venue may shift to Pune

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SportsCafe Desk

07/17/2017

The Chennai Open, India's only ATP event, may move out of the city to Pune owing to the scarcity of sponsors and the political unrest that has gripped the state of Tamil Nadu. Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government has pitched Pune's Balewadi Stadium as the venue for the ATP 250 World Series event.

Chennai might lose the hosting rights of the ATP 250 event that has graced its courts since its inception 21 years ago. The International Management Group(IMG), the organizers of the event, is still trying to prevent the shift of venue but the lack of sponsors have forced them to examine the possibility of conducting the event in Pune or Hyderabad.  

The 2018 edition of the event is scheduled to commence on January 1 and the ATP need to be informed regarding the alternate venue six months before the start of the tournament which is August 1. In accordance with ATP's regulations, IMG is likely to announce their final decision in ten days.  

However, Tamil Nadu government denied any such hindrances in organizing the tournament.

“Absolutely, there is no such issue. As a Lead Platinum Sponsor for Chennai Open, the state government sanctions Rs 2 crore every year and it will continue. If the organisers have any other issues, they can approach the government and things can be examined. But they have not approached the government so far,” a top government official was quoted as saying by Times of India.

The Tamil Nadu Tennis Association(TNTA) incurred massive losses last season but went on to sign a three-year deal for hosting the ATP event according to which it would be hosted in Chennai till 2019. TNTA like the Tamil Nadu government officials insisted that the tournament will stay in the city.

"In fact, we are in the process of making a list of the players we would like to have for the event. The list will be submitted to IMG sometime next month,” a top TNTA source was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government has pitched Pune's Balewadi Stadium as the venue for the Chennai Open with the chief minister Devendra Fadnavis forming two committees to work out the details of the event.

The Maharashtra Sports department also issued a circular with regards to the same that read, "Since the ATP 250 will not be held in Chennai now, Maharashtra Lawn Tennis Association has suggested that this prestigious tournament can be held in Pune, since it has all international facilities," reported Sportstaralive.

The city of Pune has been hosting India's only ATP Challenger event in the $50,000 KPIT-MSLTA tournament and will continue to do so hosting the fourth edition in October this year. It also hosted the Davis Cup clash between India and New Zealand in February this year which justifies Maharashtra government's bid of hosting the ATP event.

AITA CEO Hironmoy Chatterjee welcomed the move while suggesting that Mumbai too could be a venue to host the iconic event.

"Since the Chennai Open is IMG’s property, it’s their prerogative where they want to host the tournament. As far as I know, it will be held in Mumbai. The modalities are being looked into. But it’s absolutely fine if it’s held in Pune,” he was quoted as saying by Mirror.

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