New Delhi: Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi may have pulled out of the elite Chennai Open ATP tournament starting from January 1, India's top ranked players Karan Rastogi and Prakash Amritraj have been given wild card entries for the event.
Along with the Indian tennis duo, Spain's Bartolome Salva Vidal has also been awarded a wild card entry in the 32-main draw for the singles event. Indians Vishal Uppal and Ashutosh Singh received the wild card into the doubles draw.
Secretary of the All India Tennis Association Anil Khanna said, "Prakash and Karan will provide Indian tennis the much needed boost in the years to come," expressing confidence over the Association's choice of players in a media release on Thursday.
Prakash Amritraj, former India tennis star Vijay Amritraj's son lost in the finals of the doubles event last year along with Rohan Bopanna.
Bopanna, who won India the Asian Hopman Cup with Sania Mirza earlier this year, will be playing the Hopman's Cup in Australia and thus will miss out on the premier ATP event in India.
Karan Rastogi, a wild card entrant in the years 2004 and 2005 at the Chennai Open, has won the ABN Amro Challenge two years on the trot, and thus made the cut this year.
Vidal, on the other hand, has shown a lot of promise when he won the Futures title in Vilafrance and was runners-up at four other Future tournaments this year.
The six feet tall Vidal, too, hails from Mallorca, the town home to Spanish giants of the game Carlos Moya, a favourite at the Chennai Open, and world number two Rafael Nadal.