Poor turnout at Chennai Open after spate of pull-outs

Updated: 05 January 2012 20:18 IST

Blame it on a field which does not have a star player or the pull out of local hero Somdev Devvarman, the Chennai Open has failed to attract the crowd in the ongoing edition.

Poor turnout at Chennai Open after spate of pull-outs

Chennai:

Blame it on a field which does not have a star player or the pull out of local hero Somdev Devvarman, the Chennai Open has failed to attract the crowd in the ongoing edition.


Two top-10 players - Janko Tipsarevic and Nicolas Almagro - are there in the men's singles draw but less than two hundred people turned up to watch the tennis matches.

Even star Indian players, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, failed to bring in the fans, Wednesday night when they were in action.

Over the last 16 years, the country's only Tour has seen big names such as Boris Becker, Patrick Rafter, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Carlos Moya and Rafael Nadal gracing the tournament, but the ongoing edition has witnessed only a sparse crowd.

On Thursday, about 100 odd tennis lovers watched Yuki Bhambri's match with Tipsaveric at the 6,000 capacity centre court.

After the contract between IMG, the license holders of the event, and the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association expires at the end of 2013, reports suggest that the TNTA will be going it alone to organise the event.

TNTA secretary CBN Reddy was quoted as saying that they are also looking at the possibility of upgrading the event from 250-point to 500-point to attract more big names such as Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

According to ATP Tour rules, it's mandatory for the top players to compete in certain number of 500 events.

The 2012 Chennai Open has been hampered by a spate of withdrawals. Even before the tournament took off, Croat Marin Cilic, twice singles champion (2009 and 2010), withdrew due to injury.

India's highest ranked singles player Somdev, ranked 84, pulled out due to a recurring shoulder injury on the first day.

While all four bottom seeds have been ousted, the top four seeds - Tipsarevic (Serbia), Almagro (Spain), defending champion Stanislaus Wawrinka (Switzerland) and Canadian Milos Raonic - remain in the fray.

The organisers are hoping the remaining three days of the tournament, which will witness the quarterfinal, semi final and final matches of both singles and doubles will be successful in generating more crowd support.

According to Reddy, a good turnout is expected for the next three days.

"I am confident about the better turnout for the next three days. The reason for it is that I go by the demand for tickets coming forward from the quarterfinal onwards."



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