ATP CHALLENGER 100 MEN’S INTERNATIONAL TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP 2023
Chennai has become the International Sports Hub of India and is the talk of the town among the sports community in the country. Few months ago the Chess Olympiad was held in a grand manner in Chennai and it was followed by another major International Sports event – Chennai Open WTA250 Women’s International Tennis Championship.
Now Chennai is to host the first ever ATP Challenger 100 event – Chennai Open ATP Challenger 100 Men’s International Tennis Championship from 13th February 2023 at the well maintained and well known SDAT Tennis Stadium in Nungambakkam.
This has been only made possible because of the broad vision of our Honourable Chief Minister Mr.M.K.Stalin to promote and develop the sports in the State. The impact this will have on the State will be immense not only in terms of sports and health of the public at large itself but also in terms of growth of economy and commerce of the State. Since he took over recently, Thiru Udayanidhi Stalin,Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Development in taking strong steps to implement that vision and this is to be appreciated.
While the Women’s event was the first of its kind to be held in Chennai and returned to India after a gap of 14 years, this Challenger Men’sevent returns to the city after 4 years.
Tennis activity has picked up in the State. Since the conduct of the WTA event in September last, 32 official ranking tournaments have been held or are to be held in 28 weeks starting Decemebr 2022 upto June 2023 in various districts of the State to inspire young players and popularise the game.
Vijay Amritraj, the Indian Tennis Legend and President TNTA is closely coordinating with International Tennis bodies to get the best possible international tennis to India with the aim of providing Indian Players home advantage to provetheir talent and an opportunity to the sports lovers in India to watch best tennis action in their own backyard.
Players from 19 countries besides India are participating and the competition is going to be stiff.
Chun Hsin Tseng from Taepei, ranked 115 in the world is the top seed. He faces the Croatioan Nino Serdarusic in the first round. He is followed by James Duckworth from Australia, who seeems to have comparatively easier first round match against a qualifier.
The other strong contenders are third seeded Peniston Ryan of Great Britain, Austrian Sebastian Ofner, talented 19 year old Luca Nardi of Italy (ranked 162), a three time ATP Challenger tournament winner, Dimitar Kuzmanov of Bulgaria ( ranked 182) who has been around for a while, 26 year old Sebastian Ofner of Austria( ranked 193) who reached the third round at Wimbledon 2022 and Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakistan, who is familiar to Indian Tennis fans.
Max Purcell, the Wimbledon doubles Champion in 2022 is also in the fray in both – singles and doubles events.
Wildcards in the Main Draw have been given to Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Leo Borg.
Local favourite Prajnesh Gunneswaran has had good run recently and will be fancying his chances agaisnt Jay Clarke of Great Britain, while Ramkumar Ramanathan has the talent to upset the best and he is up against the 8th seeded Dimitar Kuzmanov of Bulgaria.
12 Indians are participating – 2 in the Main Draw and 10 in the Qualifying event.
In the Doubles draw Jeevan Nedunchezian and Shriram Balaji, who had a good run in the Australian Open, get the top billing and start as the favourites. If all goes accoding to script they would finally run into the second seeded Australians, Max Purcel and Marc Polmans .
Andrey Kornilov is the ATP Suprevisor, Sheetal Iyer is the Referee and Paul Sarvanan is the Chief of Umpires for he tournament.
In the last ATP Challenger event held in 2019 in Chennai, Corentin Moutet of France won the event and went on to do well for himself reaching a career high ranking of 51 in the subsequent years.
The main draw consists of 32 players – 23 direct acceptances, 3 wild cards, 6 qualifiers. Qualifying consists of 24 players with 4 wild cards. The doubles draw consists of 16 entries – 10 advanced entries, 4 from onsite entries and 2 wild cards .
The doubles finals are to be played on Saturday the 18th February while the Singles finals are slated for Sunday, 19th February. The event will be shown live streamed across the world on the ATP website and DD sports are to telecast live the semifinals and finals of the event.
The prize money for the event is USD 130000 (Rs.1.06 crores). The winner will receive 100 ATP ranking points and USD 17650 ( Rs. 14.47 lakhs) and the runner up 60 ATP points and USD 10,380 ( Rs. 8.5 lakhs) the first round loser receives USD1270 (Rs.1.04 lakhs). The qualifiers also receive a incentive of USD 380 ( Rs.31,000/-).
The players are to be hosted at The Park – the official hotel. Other partners are ACT Fibernet – Connectivity Partner, Kauvery Hospital – Medical Partner, Chennai Live – Digital App partner and Reelty Media – Content Production Partner.
Most importantly, entry for spectators to witness the matches is free. The timings of play will be from 10am onwards.