Ankita Raina, the top-ranked female tennis player in India, received a wild card admission on Tuesday for the upcoming Chennai Open, which will take place here from September 12 to 18. Eugenie Bouchard of Canada will also compete in the WTA 250 competition and has been given a wildcard too.
“The wildcards for the 32-player singles main draw have been given to Eugenie Bouchard and Ankita Raina. The two other (wildcards) to be given to anyone in the top-20 willing to come and play here," TNTA president and former Indian tennis player Vijay Amritraj said at a press conference here.
According to Amritraj, Raina and Bouchard, each received wildcards in the women's singles draw in accordance with WTA regulations. A wildcard in the doubles draw was given to the Indian team of Sharmada Balu and Riya Bhatia. Sania Mirza, a famous tennis player who just withdrew from the US Open due to a tendon injury, has not yet been confirmed to compete in the competition, according to Amritraj.
“I had a long chat with Sania during Wimbledon where she had said that she was going to participate at the US Open and also had a good chance of making it to the WTA Finals which would have made it hard for her to come back to India for the Chennai Open and then go back," Amritraj said.
“But now that she is injured, it does not look like she is going to play at the US Open and whether she will be fit enough to play with us, we will have to wait and see."
“Even if she does not play, TNTA would like to invite and felicitate her for the incredible career that she has had," he added.
Sania just advanced to the women's doubles semifinals in Toronto and participated in the Cincinnati Masters last week despite having previously said that she will retire at the conclusion of the 2022 season.
The top seed in the singles draw will probably be Caroline Garcia of France, a former world number 4. Garcia moved back into the top 20 after winning the Cincinnati Masters by beating Petra Kvitova in the final.
Alison-Riske Amritraj, ranked 29th in the world, and Elise Mertens, ranked 32nd in the world, would be among the other top contenders.
“A few years ago, when I took over as TNTA President, the goal was to get global tennis back in the city. I am happy that it has been achieved. I think the tournament will end up great," Amritraj said.
Amritraj responded when asked if the WTA tournament may become a yearly occurrence in Chennai, “We need to see how it goes this year. We have got the licence for one year. Also with the desire to host the ATP event, we will have to see how it can be done. But we could end up having it at the same time."
“There is a great opportunity between the events in Dubai and Doha in 2024 with regard to hosting a WTA event here. We are looking at a potential WTA 500 event in 2024. We have to see if we can squeeze it in," he added.