Maharashtra Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis, on Wednesday launched the logo for the Tata Open Maharashtra, which will be held in Pune from January 1 to 6, 2018.
World number six Marin Cilic, 2017 US Open finalist Kevin Anderson and big-serving Ivo Karlovic are the top players who would feature in the tournament, India’s lone ATP World Tour event, to be held in Pune’s Balewadi Sports Complex for the first time.
The qualifiers for the tournament, which has moved to Pune after being held in Chennai for 21 years, will be held on December 30 and 31.
“We have a lot of tennis lovers in our country and our state who keenly watch tournaments, be it the Wimbledon, French Open, US Open, Davis Cup. All these tournaments are watched on television. But, to watch a high-ranking tournament at the stadium is a visual treat for tennis lovers and also a good learning process for tennis players,” Fadnavis said.
The tournament – introduced in 1996 – has seen the likes of Spanish great Rafael Nadal, Stanislas Wawrinka, Carlos Moya, Milos Raonic and Marin Clinic, gracing the event.
“It will start a new era in the lawn tennis space of Maharashtra,” he remarked.
Tournament Director Prashant Sutar said the tennis stadium within the complex was being renovated at a cost of Rs 60-70 lakh.
‘Asia’s Tennis Best Academy’, to be supported by Adar Poonawala for the next five years, would be announced during the ATP (tournament), Sutar said.
“There will be main five centres – Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Aurabgabad and Solapur – to provide tennis coaching to students and 25 per cent of the seats will be reserved for students from rural areas,” he said.
The CM also said a plan is being prepared on how best to revamp the Balewadi complex in order to put it to maximum use.
“We are speaking to some consultants. After our Sports Director returns from election duty in Gujarat, we will make the plan public,” he added.
According to Fadnavis, the focus of his government will be to see how sports activities can be enhanced at the Balweadi complex and the Mankapur Sports Complex in Nagpur.