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Tamil Nadu Tennis Association plans to host a WTA event for Chennai in 2020

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Tamil Nadu Tennis Association plans to host a WTA event for Chennai in 2020

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SportsCafe Desk

12/21/2018

The Tamil Nadu Tennis Association is working towards hosting a WTA 250 event in February 2020 after the Australian Open Grand Slam event and hopes to make it an annual affair. The Chennai Open, which was being hosted in the city by the TNTA for 21 long years shifted to Pune last year.

The Tamil Nadu Tennis Association(TNTA) is working towards hosting a WTA 250 Tennis tournament in Chennai. TNTA’s President Vijay Amritraj has stated that the event may be hosted in the month of February after the Australian Open Grand Slam event. The former India player also hinted that the event may become a permanent one in the coming years.

"A few days after I took up the reins at TNTA in September, I made a request to the WTA to host a tournament here, probably in February after the Australian Open. We have already approached the government for support and they have happily agreed. The budget will be half of what we needed for Chennai Open, so it is estimated at around Rs 6-7 crore. We are still in talks to finalise the details," Amritraj said.

The Chennai Open was forced to shift base to Pune last year due to dwindling spectatorship and big-ticket participants missing from the event off-late. But with this reinvigorated push to host a WTA 250 event, Amritraj is planning to bring back a major event to Chennai.

"For a long time Chennai Open was a part of the calendar for tennis lovers in the city but unfortunately it came to an end. I hope if we get this WTA tournament here, it will eventually become a part of the calendar," Amritraj added.

Amritraj also added that he first planned to host an ATP 125 event but later decided to make it big and ensure that both participants and spectators are really encouraged to attend the event and ultimately make it an annual event.

“I first thought of hosting a 125 event but then 250 will ensure higher seeds. We need to have Indian interest for the tournament to grow. If there are 28 direct acceptances and we have no representations, it doesn't look good. At least, we need wild cards who can move up the draw. I spoke to the WTA CEO and other officials, they are keen to come on board."

Amritraj also revealed his plans to host a legend’s tournament saying that Chennai never hosted any such event and if held he would like to have players from same era taking part in the tournament.

"I don't remember having a Legends' tournament in our city so I am really looking forward to having one. We are trying to have players like Mark Philippoussis, Goran Ivanisevic, Richard Krajicek, Pat Rafter and a few more. I want players who have played in the same era. But then we have to see their schedules. They have television commitments, clinics, other obligations," he said.

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