India kickstarts 2010 Aircel Chennai Open

India's only ATP tour event, which is in it's 14th year the $400,000, 2010 Aircel Chennai Open starts on Monday.

Updated: January 04, 2010 16:33 IST
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Chennai:India's only ATP tour event, which is in it's 14th year the $400,000, 2010 Aircel Chennai Open starts on Monday. Over the years, this event has attracted stars like Rafael Nadal and Boris Becker. This year's top draw is Robin Soderling, with the likes of Marin Cilic and Carlos Moya adding to the star power. Indian hopes will be shouldered by India's Number One tennis player, Somdev Devvarman.

Last year's runner-up, Somdev Devvarman is all geared-up for another good show. "Its only going to get better. I'm quite young in my career. Last year was my first full year on tour", says the ace tennis player.

Somdev, World No 126, will be up against World No 85, Rainer Schuettler in the first round. But one can't say if he will go into the match as the underdog. Says former tennis player and sports commentator, Vijay Amritraj, "He's been practicing extremely hard with Andy and so on and so forth. He's had a marvelous 2009. I would probably give Somdev the edge in that particular match."

Having been drawn against World No 21, Stanislas Wawrinka, the Indian wildcard, Rohan Bopanna has a really tough first round, however, he seems inspired and ready to go. "I'm looking forward to this. With home support and home crowd I'm rearing to go. My practice has been good and have had a good off season," he said.

While Leander Paes chooses to play in the Brisbane International, Bhupathi will pair-up with Rohan Bopanna.

The biggest name and top seed at this year's tournament is Robin Soderling, the World No 8 who shocked Roger Federer just a few days back in Abu Dhabi. He has an easy first round outing against World No 100, Robby Ginepri.

The overall field this year boasts quite a few big international names, including Soderling, Wawrinka, Janko Tipsarevic, Moya and Schuettler.

Two Time Champion and a huge crowd favourite, Carlos Moya is back from an 8-month break due to an injury and surgery and is sure to make his presence felt at the tournament. Defending champion and World No 14 Marin Cilic meanwhile, has steadily risen up the rankings since his win at the tournament last year.

The run-up to the tournament, however, wasn't all good news as there were reports of a rift between Vijay Amritraj and the organizers doing the rounds.

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