Chennai Open Tennis Tournament Growing Bigger
Syed Ali Mujtaba
Chennai Dec 31, 2008: Chennai is all decked up for Chennai Open, India's first and only ATP International Series Tennis tournament from 5 to 11 January 2009 at the SDAT Nungambakkam Stadium. The tournament now in its 14th year has put India firmly on the global tennis map.
Chennai Open with every passing year is growing bigger and spreading wider. This year it will be telecast through the strong TV broadcast network of 18 top international TV channels reaching more than one billion households across 140 countries worldwide.
The matches of Chennai Open 2009 will be telecast on Zee Sports TV channel in the Indian sub continent. IMG, who owns and organizes Chennai Open, has awarded the telecast rights to this premier broadcaster at a whopping cost of US$ 450,000.
Chennai Open has become the most sought after sporting destination for tennis players across the globe. This year two players who have been in Top 10 and 7 players who are in the Top 50 during the year 2008 will be seen in action.
Also, as many as 15 players who are in top 100 players list will feature in this tournament. World No 5, Nikolay Davydenko (Russia), World No 13 (No 9 in June 2008), Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland), World No 23, Marin Cilic (Croatia), World No 26, Ivo Karlovic (Croatia), World No 33, Rainer Schuettler (Germany) and Former World No 1 and World No 42, Carlos Moya (Spain) are few notable names to be watched.
The Indian contingent comprises of Somdev Devvarman and Prakash Amritraj who will feature in the singles draw. Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes with their respective partners are in the doubles draw. Indian young tennis star, Yuki Bhambri and a Davis Cup regular for India, Harsh Mankad will be other players looking to hog limelight.
Chennai Open 2009 seems to creating new record of sorts. This tournament has been awarded with prestigious awards like ATP Award for excellence-1997 and 1999, ATP Award for best promoted tournament (International group) in 1998 and ATP's Player Services Award of Excellence - 2006 and ATP's Best Marketing Award -2008.
The tournament has also become a great platform for major brands to reach out to different demographic pockets. As many as 24 brands, have partnered with Chennai Open 2009, providing the financial muscle and some exciting off-court action.
“Chennai Open 2009 promises to showcase world class tennis for its fans across the world with its impressive roster of Indian and international stars," says Tournament Director, Fernando Soler.
“The tremendous response and support that we receive from our partners indicates that the tournament is growing,” he adds.
Ravi Krishnan, Advisor, IMG expresses similar views. "Chennai Open has set the pace of organizing tournaments in India of International standards. An impressive player field, high voltage tennis action and professional execution of the tournament year after year, truly demonstrates the strength of Chennai Open and its position as the premiere tennis event,” he says.
There is little doubt Chennai Open is a week-long sports festivity in this southern Indian metropolis. It has acquired the status of a much sought-after tennis event for both players and fans alike. It presents an opportunity for them to move beyond their television sets and catch the action live.
There are more off court action and the whole stadium remains abuzz with not only sports enthusiasts but many other celebrities who turn out there for annual glimpses.
No wonder every Chennaite is looking forward with great enthusiasm for this tennis carnival to begin next week.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a working journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org