New Delhi: In what might be a major coup for Maharashtra Open, tournament director Prashant Sutar has said that they will approach the star players for the next edition of the Maharashtra Open.
"This year we have a star line-up with the likes of Marin Cilic, Kevin Anderson and the likes of former World No.5 Tommy Robredo playing in the qualifiers, it shows the level of competitiveness in the tournament. From what I understand, Federer and Nadal have a contract with Brisbane(Federer will be competing in Hopman Cup in Perth) for 2018 but after that we will try our best to get them on board," Sutar told News18.
The erstwhile Chennai Open has been renamed as the Maharashtra Open after the tournament moved to Pune, it remains South Asia's only ATP 250 event which has seen the likes of Boris Becker, Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, Carlos Moya among others compete in build-up to the new season and the Australian Open.
Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) secretary Sundar Iyer felt the time was right for the tournament to move to Pune.
"Chennai is different, Pune is different. It's like a kid who has grown up and has moved to new pastures for his development. A lot of time and money was invested in Chennai Open but now we have taken up the mantle to bring it here. We are fully prepared in terms of facilities, infrastructure. We have been working on a lot of events," Iyer said.
"We have hosted Challengers, Davis Cup and also won the award from ITF for it. This gives us real confidence about hosting the event," Iyer added.
One of the major challenges has been getting in the crowd especially for the early round matches.
"Pune is a tennis loving city, we had almost 2500 people turn up for the Challengers recently and with some top players in action, getting the crowds won't be such a difficult thing. We are expecting good crowd for the tournament," Iyer said.
The total capacity of the 6 courts is around 5000 and major renovation has been done to upgrade the courts as per the international standards.
Sutar revealed that the biggest challenge for convincing the players to come to the city was connectivity, which was a major worry.
"The players didn't know that Pune has direct connectivity from Europe, they were concerned about travelling to the city. But all their fears were laid to rest. Cilic is directly flying to Pune from Europe," the tournament director said.
The tickets for the tournament go for sale from the 16th of December and it will be interesting to see the kind of response it generates.
Chennai Open has certainly remained one of the landmark events for tennis fans in the country and it will be interesting to see how Pune takes over the mantle.
The tournament will start from January 1st and go on till January 6th with qualifiers being held on 30th and 31st.