THE AIRCEL CHENNAI OPEN – OUR PRIDE
For the past two decades, the birth of January brings the exciting world of tennis to India in the form of The Aircel Chennai Open. It holds the honour of being the only ATP tournament in India and South East Asia. Many ATP & WTA tournaments have come and gone, but none have withstood the test of time as Chennai Open did.
The hard courts of SDAT stadium in Nungambakkam have witnessed the likes of Boris Becker, Patrick Rafter, Carlos Moya, Rafael Nadal, Paradorn Srichaphan and Stanislas Wawrinka. Through the years it has been nourishing Indian talents, right from Mahesh Bhupathi & Leander Paes to Somdev Devvarman,Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanathan.
For the fans who have grown up with loud Cricket crowds with electric atmosphere, tournaments like these offer a contrasting but ethereal experience in watching a sport. From watching the players up very close, to heads that sway with the motion of the ball, watching tennis live is an opportunity that a sports lover should never miss.
Despite all, the tournament has been losing its sheen in the past few years. Gone are the days when Day 2 of the tournament had long queues. Though the crowds have not been sparse, it witnesses packed stands only in the later stages of the tournament. It is a sad state of affairs that people shell out a minimum of Rs.1500 to watch an IPL match but don’t want to spend Rs.150 to watch international tennis.
From giving us nail biting matches, breathtaking backhands, cross courts and volleys, to making us smile and cheer International stars swinging cricket bats, Chennai Open has given Chennai and India, a lot to cherish and cheer. But the future of the tournament will hang in suspense when its contract comes up after the next edition in 2016. Last time the contract came up in 2013, our officials managed to keep the tournament here despite a heavy bid from China. Now as that the date comes close to expiry, the fans can only hope and pray that India does not lose its only ATP event.