Pune (Maharashtra) [India], January 7 (ANI): While the fifth edition of the Tata Open Maharashtra has been in the spotlight with an exciting action between world tennis stars, taking place at the Balewadi Stadium, the Tournament Director Prashant Sutar and MSLTA Secretary Sunder Iyer declared that they have the backing of the Maharashtra Government and are ready to keep South Asia's only ATP 250 event in Pune for the next five years.
"The Government of Maharashtra is committed to hosting such big tournaments in the state because Maharashtra has a legacy of organsing this. They have been supporting this tournament fully so we are the strong contenders to continue having this tournament for the next five years. We also had an internal discussion with the concerned heads and we will go all out. We will also have a discussion with IMG about this as they are also a key stakeholder and understand what they have to say. We will need to have Reliance and IMG on the same page," Tournament Director Prashant Sutar, who is also the Chairman of MSLTA, said while talking to the media on Friday.
Talking about the significance of conducting such world-class tournaments, Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) Secretary Iyer, who is also the Joint Secretary of All India Tennis Association, said, "We were looking at hosting the women's Challengers event in Nagpur, unfortunately we couldn't do it because we didn't have the courts that fit the measurements. However, we could easily decide that we are redoing the courts as we are now aided with the facilities which were earlier not there. While organising a tournament (ATP-250) of this level, we can now take faster decisions based on what we are already executing at the Tata Open Maharashtra."
India's biggest tennis tournament is being conducted by the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) in association with the Government of Maharashtra for the fifth year in Pune with the initial 5-year hosting contract ending this year.
"It is just not this ATP event; we have done a lot of things around this Championship in the last five years. Right now, we have the players from the districts who are already at the top, in the national rankings. The savings that we have made from this ATP event have been utilised in developing the infrastructure. Next month, we will officially announce the high-performance training academy as well and it will be a huge boost for tennis players in Maharashtra as well as for the ecosystem across the country. All of these are taking shape because of this ATP 250 tournament that is allotted to us otherwise it would have taken way more time had it happened on its own," Sutar added.
The tournament finals are scheduled on Saturday. This year World No. 17 Marin Cilic along with 17 Top-100 players featured in the highly competitive singles field. The doubles event also witnessed the participation of the former World No. 1 and three-time Grand Slam champion pair of Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury alongside Indian tennis ace Rohan Bopanna among others.
Sutar also further said that the organisers have been making efforts to get players like Novak Djokovic in the upcoming editions. (ANI)