Striving to bring back ATP event to Chennai, says Amritraj

Just for the record, it’s been five years since the city witnessed a tennis spectacle of this kind and the 69-year-old Amritraj fervently hopes that this will be an annual affair henceforth like in the times past.
Siva V Meyyanathan & Vijay Amritraj
Siva V Meyyanathan & Vijay Amritraj

CHENNAI: Just like he did so often during his illustrious career, Vijay Amritraj has yet again braved many insuperable odds in getting to organize the city's inaugural WTA 250 tournament. Renowned for being a man of many parts, Amritraj, currently donning the hat of the president of Tamil Nadu Tennis Association (TNTA), kept his promise of restoring elite level tennis to the city soon after assuming the top job in September 2018. That it took this long for a tournament of this magnitude to reach the shores of Chennai is largely due to the pandemic casting a shadow over the sporting landscape across the world.

Subsequent to all the trauma it had left behind in its trail, it has to be acknowledged that Amritraj and his team acted with commendable alacrity in helping this event see the light of day. Just for the record, it’s been five years since the city witnessed a tennis spectacle of this kind and the 69-year-old Amritraj fervently hopes that this will be an annual affair henceforth like in the times past.

“When I took over as TNTA president, the goal was to get global tennis back in the city. I am happy that it has been achieved. I think the tournament will end up being great. I hope this event will inspire more girls to play tennis,” he said.

The Indian Davis Cup legend said the Tamil Nadu government has been showing great interest in getting an ATP 250 event as well.

“The government is keen to have an ATP 250 event back here. We have small windows and the calendar is tight, so we are working towards it.”

The ATP 250 event was held in Chennai till 2017 before it was moved out of the southern metropolis to Pune.

Asked if the WTA event here could be a regular feature, Amritraj said, “We need to see how it goes this year. We have got the licence for one year. Also, with the desire to host the ATP event, we will have to see how it can be done. But we could end up having them both at the same time.”

He said there is a great opportunity between the events in Dubai and Doha in 2024 with regard to hosting a WTA 500 event here. “We are looking at a potential WTA 500 event in 2024. We should see if we can squeeze it in.”

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