Television

Elena Likhovtseva confirms participation for Sunfeast Open 2005

Kolkata, August 31, 2005: World No. 21 and semi-finalist at this year’s French Open 2005, Russian star Elena Likhovtseva, has confirmed her participation for singles as well as doubles draw at the Sunfeast Open 2005, Kolkata. The tournament will be held from September 19-25, 2005 at the Netaji Indoor tennis Stadium in Kolkata. A former Wimbledon Mixed Doubles Champion with India’s own Mahesh Bhupathi, the Russian has won three singles and twenty-three doubles titles till date with total career prize earnings of over US$ 5.2 million. A consistent performer on the WTA tour, Likhovtseva has been a runner-up in a number of other contests, including the French Open Women's Doubles in 2004 and Mixed Doubles in 2003, and the 2004 US Open Women's Doubles.

Says Mahesh Bhupathi, Managing Director, Globosport India Pvt. Ltd., “Elena has been a consistent player on the WTA tour with good performances in the singles as well as doubles. Personally, it has been a great experience to play mixed doubles with her and the Wimbledon 2002 title was indeed a special one. Her confirmation to participate in the Sunfeast Open 2005, is a coup and a wonderful opportunity for sports fans to see a current Grand Slam semi-finalist in close quarters”.

Says Ravi Naware, ITC Foods Divisional Chief Executive, “In a cricket crazy country like India, unfortunately other sports are being continuously neglected and deprived of the limelight they deserve. ITC, a forward-looking company has always tried to venture into untreaded territories. With Sunfeast Open 2005, we have made every effort in ensuring that some of world’s renowned talent come and participate in India thus promoting tennis, the fastest growing sport in the country. Confirmation of player like Elena Likhovtseva not only encourages us to carry our endeavour forward but also heightens our spirits to host stars of such international fame and recognition.”

Speaking on the confirmation, Tournament Director, Jaidip Mukherjea said, “The buzz and excitement for Sunfeast Open 2005 has reached a frenzy and with a player field like Myskina, Karolina Sprem, Tamarine Tanasugarn, Sania Mirza and now Elena Likhovtseva, Sunfeast Open 2005, Kolkata, is soon becoming the radar for the ‘young and talented’ in the fast growing tennis circuit. The Government of West Bengal is taking every effort to popularise this sport in the country and we are confident that the world will stand up and take notice of a new generation of stars battling it out for the coveted title of the Sunfeast Open 2005, Kolkata.”

Elena Likhovtseva enjoyed her best season in 2002, reaching the quarterfinals in the singles beating fifth seed Kim Clijsters, and winning her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon Mixed doubles Championships in 2002, pairing with Mahesh Bhupathi. The 29-year-old, Elena Likhovtseva has remained solid in 2005 and made it to the world top 20 for the first time in four years. Likhovtseva has also raised her game in major championships, reaching the third round at the Australian Open 2005 and then the semi-finals at Roland Garros 2005. The Russian's career-best performance at the French Open was brought to an abrupt end by runner-up Mary Pierce. While Likhovtseva has recovered some form in the singles, she has consistently remained a world-class doubles player and has already won three titles in 2005. As of August 3, 2005, she was ranked as high as 6th for doubles and 17th for singles.

About the Sunfeast Open 2005, Kolkata

Touted as South Asia's biggest sporting spectacle, Sunfeast Open 2005 is Tier III WTA (Women Tennis Association) event with prize money of US$ 170,000. It will be played at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata from September 19-25, 2005. The Sunfeast Open 2005, Kolkata is a new event that is being added for the first time to the WTA Tour championships, and will feature some of the world's leading players as well the new generation of Indian stars led by Sania Mirza and Shikha Uberoi. The tournament is being brought to Kolkata by Globosport, the sports management company owned by Mahesh Bhupathi, under the auspices of the Government of West Bengal. With the explosion of talent in women's tennis in India, the Sunfeast Open 2005 – Kolkata will allow Indians to see a new generation of Indian women take on the best in the world in their own backyard. For further information log on to www.sunfeastopen.com

For further information, please contact:

Anirban Das Blah Suresh Rangarajan

Globosport India Pvt Ltd Vaishnavi Corporate Communications

Mobile: 98860 40643 Tel: 56568787 Mobile: 9821611560

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