Chennai, Nov 22 : Although being held in tandem with Doha and Brisbane Open competitions that offer higher prize money, the 18th edition of Chennai Open ATP Tour Championships will have a strong player field headed by world no 6 Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic, World no 9 Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia and World no 16 Croatian Marin Cilic when the curtain goes up on the Aircel-sponsored event on December 31 and ending on January 6.
Apart from two of the top 10 players, the singles field, announced here today at a press conference by Former Tournament Director and Head of IMG Fernando Soler and Tamil Nadu Tennis Association(TNTA) President M A Alagappan, will include Former Champion here, Stanislas Warwinka of Switzerland who is World no 17,Benolt Paire (France-World No 47) and Robin Hasse(The Netherlands- world no 56). The Indian challenge in the singles main draw will be headed by Davis Cupper Somdev Dev Verman who will be given a wild card as his ranking went down since he could not compete on the Tour as he was recovering from an injury.
The doubles line up for South Asia's only ATP Tour event, with a prize money of 4.30 lakh US Dollar,will be annonced later, they said adding India's Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna have confirmed their participation with different partners.While Berdych will be here for his second appearance, Tipsarevic will be making his fifth visit along with Stanislas Wawrinka. Cilic had won the title in 2009 and '10. The first timers to the 2013 Chennai Open will be world no 47 Benoit Paire, No 56 Robin Haase and no 60 Yen-Hsun Lu, among others.
Meanwhile, TNTA President Mr Alagappan said efforts were being made to retain the event in Chennai for five more years 2014-18 with the help of the Tamil Nadu government which has hiked its sponsorship amount to Rs 2 crore from Rs one crore. 'The present agreement with the sponsors headed by tlecom serive provider Aircel ends with the 2012 edition and the event manager IMG also wishes that the event remains in Chennai, the capital of Indian tennis although it can move it to other countries, he said. Asked if Aircel would continue to be the title sponsor, the company's National Brand Head Renuka Jaypal said 'we are yet to take a deciion.'.