The Chennai Open will remain in the city for at least another five years with increased prize money and a title sponsor.
"It is our desire to continue to support the event for another five years. The TNTA (Tamil Nadu Tennis Association) has been working towards this goal and the event will remain in Chennai," MA Alagappan, Vice President of the Association, told PTI.
He said they not only propose to sign the contract for another five year lease, but also to increase the prize money from $ 450,000 to $ 600,000. "Importantly, the event will have a title sponsor, besides the eight sponors, headed by the state government," he said.
Alagappan said this was the right time to make the announcement as Indian tennis is looking up with Somdev Devvarman on the threshhold of winning his maiden ATP tour title.
Alagappan, also vice-president of the All India Tennis Association, confirmed that an MoU in this regard with all partners of the tournament, including the sponsors, would be signed before the end of February.
Meanwhile, Ravi Krishnan, consultant for IMG,the tournament owners, said 'we will be more than delighted to have the event running in Chennai, which has created a lot of goodwill and memories for players in general and the knowledgeable fans here'.
Fernando Solar, Senior Vice President, Head of IMG, Tennis Worldwide, said Chennai has been recognised as one of the best venues by players and the city has set the pace for organising sporting events in India to international standards.
"The event has seen the likes of Boris Becker [Images], Carlos Moya [Images], Richard Krajicek, Patrick Rafter, Rafael Nadal [Images], Yevgeny Kafelnikov, David Nalbandian, Mihail Youzhny, Marcos Baghdatis and India's own legends, Leander Paes [Images] and Mahesh Bhupathi [Images]. On three occasions, the event was adjudged the best managed and run tournament in the world by ATP," he said.
Both Solar and Krishnan said that recession has hit almost all industries and countries in recent times and there was talk of moving the event to either Singapore or Abu Dhabi.
"But we were flexible in our approach to have it in Chennai and on the demands of increase in finance required for the event. We are delighted to know from the TNTA that they are on the verge of signing up with a Chennai based company'. they said.
The venue has a centre court with a capacity of 5,800 seats and six outdoor practice and match courts, built for hosting the SAF Games in 1995.
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