MUMBAI:To provide level playing opportunities and world-class competition to top Indian players Ankita Raina, Sahaja Yamalapalli and Rutuja Bhosale and promising teenager Vaishnavi Adkar of Maharashtra, have been awarded the singles main draw wild cards for the Mumbai Open WTA 125K Series Tennis Championships, starting here on February 5.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, the Organising Committee members, Sanjay Khandare and Pravin Darade stated, “We are happy to get this world-class event back to India to provide world-class competition to our players. We also thank our Sponsors, L&T, for coming forward and supporting women’s tennis in the country. I’m sure that having such a major event at the beginning of the year will help our players to improve their ranking and participate in higher-level events globally.”
“Our players do not get to play such high-level events due to various reasons and that is why we decided to organise this event here so at least 8 to 10 Indians can get a chance to gain valuable WTA points and thereby improve their world rankings,” added Khandare and Darade.
The event is being organised by the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) and the Cricket Club of India (CCI).
Prashant Sutar, Chairman of MSLTA, thanked the Maharashtra Government for their continued support. “We are thankful to the Government of Maharashtra for their support to tennis, with their backing we have been able to organise ATP tour events, Davis Cup ties, ATP Challengers and the WTA 125 Series events,” he said.
He further added, “With the government support, we are launching the Lakshyavedh project for Maharashtra players. Under this initiative, we have joined hands with JC Ferrero Academy to start a world-class tennis academy in Pune.”
Bharat Oza, President of MSLTA, stated, “In 2023-2024, MSLTA has organised international tournaments worth over ₹3.5 crore in the women’s and men’s categories at Solapur, Navi Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune and Mumbai. This is the highest by any association in India. MSLTA’s contribution to Indian tennis has been immense and the L&T Mumbai Open is the biggest tennis event on the Indian Calendar this year.”
Sunder Iyer, Hon. Secretary of MSLTA, updated that the Qualifying rounds for the event will be played on the weekend (February 3 and 4) while the main draw matches will start on Monday (February 5) with the final will be held on Sunday.
“A 10-member international officiating team led by Grand Slam supervisor Kerrilyn Kramer, of Australia, will be working at the event. Sheetal Iyer, of India, will be the referee of the event while Leena Nageshkar will be the chief of officials for the event,” Iyer stated.