Top 100 women’s professional tennis players from over 25 countries including Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan, Nina Bratchikova of Russia, Kai-Chen Chang of Taipei, Misaki Doi and Ayumi Morita of Japan and young teenage sensation Donna Vekic of Croatia will be participating in the $125,000 Royal Indian Open WTA Challenger which will be held in Pune from 5th to 11th November.
The event which will be held at the Shivaji Chatrapathi Sports Complex (BALEWADI) – MSLTA School of Tennis complex is the first WTA Challenger event in India. The event will bring professional women’s tennis back to India for the first time since 2008, after tournaments in Hyderabad (2003-2005) and Bangalore (2006-2008) and will be promoted by Netsurf Entertainment.
“We are very proud that the State of Maharashtra has been selected to host the event of such an high stature and also happy that the event will be held in Pune, the Government Of Maharashtra is proud to support the event,” said Maharashtra Chief Minister Mr. Pritiviraj Chavan.
“We are thrilled to bring women’s professional tennis back to India and to Pune which can be termed as the tennis capital of the country, we plan to encourage and support young talent in our nation through the Royal India Open,” said Sujit Jain, MD, Netsurf Entertainment. “We have seen great development in women’s tennis in the Asia-Pacific region over the past few years and now look forward to welcoming players from all around the world to play our event. Netsurf Entertainment will work with the WTA to make this event a huge success.”, Mr. Jain added.
The Royal India Open will give the much needed fillip to women’s tennis in India. The player list comprises players from across America, Europe and Asia, making it a truly global event. We believe RIO will be a great opportunity for Pune’s large student population and tennis enthusiasts from nearby Mumbai, to savour display of world class tennis” said Ashok Rajgopal CEO SportsOne.
“India is a fantastic new host destination for our second WTA Challenger event, and we hope the city of Pune will play great hosts ” said Peter Johnston, WTA’s Managing Director of Asia-Pacific.
The India Open will be the region’s second event as part of the WTA Challenger Series, following the May announcement of the inaugural WTA Challenger event in Taipei.
The WTA Challenger Series was created to showcase women’s tennis in emerging markets with strong fan bases. For the events, prize money will total $125,000 and 160 ranking points for the champion, while featuring a 32-player singles main draw, 16-player doubles draw and 16-player qualifier draw, said Sunder Iyer, Tournament Director of the event .
Since none of the Indian players can make it to the event with their world ranking, there will be a few wild cards for them, apart from two wildcards for top 50 players which will be announced soon, he added.