Television

Aircel Chennai Open to celebrate two decades of tennis in India

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MUMBAI: With Thomas Enqvist and Mark Petchey?s first tennis match, the seeds of India?s first and only ATP World Tour were sown in 1996. 20 years down, the tournament has grown into a marquee ATP tennis event in south Asia, giving birth to many a tennis champions, attracting some of the finest names in the world tennis circuit and spawning a multitude of fans across the nation.

The 2015 edition of the Aircel Chennai Open will mark 20 years since the very first game was played in India and the organisers are all set to celebrate the occasion with a host of activities in Chennai. The event is scheduled to be held at Chennai?s SDAT Stadium from 5 to 11 January 2015.

The celebration includes the launch of a special logo created to mark the occasion, a renovated SDAT Stadium that has hosted the event proudly since 1997 after it shifted from New Delhi and a host of special activities targeted at fans and tennis enthusiasts including schoolchildren and the youth, apart from exciting marketing initiatives across India.

The tournament has had a long and exhilarating journey in India, thanks to the constant support of the Government of Tamil Nadu, the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association (TNTA), the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu, the All India Tennis Association (AITA), the ATP and organisers IMG Reliance that put together their resources into developing the tournament into a bigger and better property each year.

Tamil Nadu Tennis association president M.A Alagappan said, ?As we celebrate two decades of the tournament in the country, it gives us an opportunity to not just celebrate the occasion but look back with pride at our achievements and renew our focus to take the tournament to greater heights in the seasons to come. I congratulate everyone involved and thank India?s tennis community for its support.?

 IMG Reliance chief operating officer Ashu Jindal commented, ?The 20-year journey of the tournament has been nothing short of spectacular. The event has become a role model in the region and we are thrilled with the progress that has been made in every area of the game. Since its arrival in the city, the event has weaved itself into the fabric of Chennai and is now an integral part of Chennai?s culture. We plan to celebrate the occasion with a host of activities and it is a pleasure to have arrived at this landmark year.?

The ATP World Tour 250 event has built a strong legacy for being a ?Springboard of Champions?, with former winners including Grand Slam champions Pat Rafter and Carlos Moya. Apart from Rafter and Moya, players to have graced the courts in the past include Rafael Nadal, Boris Becker, Richard Krajicek, Yvgeny Kafelnikov, Byron Black and India's own Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi.

Aircel Chennai Open Tournament director Tom Annear said, ?The Aircel Chennai Open has become the longest running annual tennis event in south Asia and I am glad that we are completing the 20th year in 2015. As we endeavour to set new benchmarks with each edition, this milestone gives us reason to celebrate our achievements and congratulate each stakeholder for the fantastic efforts over the years. It has been our aim to place India into the top league of tennis playing nations in the world and I am glad that we are getting closer to that with each passing year.?

Doubles Winners Source: Wikipedia

 Singles Winners Source: Wikipedia

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