Chennai Open renamed Maharashtra Open, to be held in Pune
India's lone ATP tournament, the Chennai Open, will now be held in Pune next year and would be henceforth called "Maharashtra Open".
IMG-Reliance, the right holders of the tournament along with Government of Maharashtra and Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA), announced this here.
"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.
The Chennai Open became an important fixture on India s international sporting calendar, drawing top players from across the world for 21 long years.
Many of them, including 14-time Grand Slam men's singles champion Rafael Nadal of Spain who has often spoken about its importance in his journey to World No. 1, had made it their first stop every year.
India's Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi forged their formidable partnership at the Chennai Open, before they went on to conquer the world.
Stan Wawrinka and Maric Cilic, among the more notable players, also took baby steps in this event before going on to break into ATP's elite Top 5 list.
Meanwhile, Indian tennis players, who already are struggling to get home tournament, heaved a sigh of relief that country's only ATP World Tour event has not moved out of the country.
Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, who won the 21st and last edition of Chennai Open with compatriot Rohan Bopanna, said he's happy that India still has a tournament. "It's sad that it's not in Chennai anymore. It is what it is. But I am excited to play in Pune as always. India has one tournament a year which I consider a home event so I'm happy that it's still in our country," the Chennai lad said.
"It would be nice to see more such level events in India through the year to help us all go higher in the rankings because playing at home is a big advantage. Of course this would only be possible if the AITA has any intent of creating a better system of tournament for the players," the southpaw added with a tinge of sarcasm.