Internet Desk: Big ticket tennis makes a return to Mumbai with the WTA $125K Series L&T Mumbai Open, which will be organized by the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA), in association with the Govt of Maharashtra, and hosted by the Cricket Club of India (CCI) at their courts from November 18 to 26, 2017.
The 19-year-old from Belarus, Aryna Sabalenka, ranked 78 in the world, who lost to Maria Sharapova at the Tianjin WTA three weeks ago, will head the seeding list, which will feature players from 19 countries. Russia’s Vera Zvonareva, a former World No 2, Beijing Olympic bronze medalist and runner-up in 2010 at the Wimbledon and US Open, and former World No.12 Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium are some of the notable entrants for the event.
This was announced by Ms Amruta Fadnavis, Chairperson of the organizing committee in the presence of Mr. Pravin Singh Pardeshi, IAS, Patron, Mr. Nitin Kareer,Chairman of the organizing committee, Ms PallaviDarade, IRS, Organising Secretary, Tournament Director Mr. Prashant Sutar and MSLTA Secretary Mr. Sunder Iyer.
Also present were Mr. S V Desai, Executive Vice President & Head – Heavy Civil Infrastructure Independent Company, representing title sponsors L&T, besides Mr. Bharat Oza, President MSLTA, Mr. Kekoo Nicholson, President CCI, Jayesh Shah, CMD Shree Naman Group and representatives of the other sponsors to the event.
Speaking to reporters, Amruta Fadnavis said: “WTA has come to India after five years and after 10 years to Maharshtra. Mumbai being one of the most popular destinations in the world, we are happy to welcome the top tennis players. The 19-year-old Aryna Sabalenka comes to mind but we’re happy to welcome them all. Maharashtra is always at the forefront of sports academies. Our players will get a chance to improve their ranking and witness professional tennis at close quarters. I thank the organisers for the beautiful atmosphere and infrastructure. Tennis is the best physical music. Let us enjoy the sound of music and empower women to the fullest.”
Mr. Nitin Kareer, IAS, and Chairman of the organizing committee said, “Being the last tournament of the year on the WTA calendar the tournament will witness tough contests, with players vying for maximum WTA points, which will help them gain entry into the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open.”
Kekoo Nicholson, President of the CCI added, “The Cricket Club of India is a premier sporting institution as the President of the club, I am extremely proud and honoured that such a prestigious international event is being held at our courts.It is a wonderful opportunity for the lovers of tennis in Mumbai and members of our club to witness this competition at the highest level.
Tournament director Prashant Sutar informed, the winner of the event will get US$ 20,000 and 160 WTA points, the finalist will get US$ 11,000 and 95 points, the semi-finalists will get US$ 6,000 and 57 points and the quarter-finalists US$ 4,000 and 29 points. Round of 16 entrants will get US$ 2,000 and 15 points, while the main draw entry into the event will fetch US$ 1,050 and 1 point.
The organizing committee will be allotting four wild cards to Indian players in the main draw, who otherwise will not be able to make the grade. India No.1 Ankita Raina, upcoming star Karman Kaur Thandi, State’s No. 1 player Rutuja Bhosale and World Junior No 18 Zeel Desai are amongst the front runners for the main draw wildcards.