The Garden City of India will host the 2017 Bengaluru Open, which is an event of ATP Challenger Tour at Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA) from November 20 to 25. The launch ceremony was held on 8 November, Wednesday at KSLTA.
Sponsored by Karnataka Tourism, this tournament is the richest prize money Challenger event in South Asia and the venue has its own significance as two Williams sisters, Venus and Serena Williams have played at KSLTA previously.
However, compared to the previous edition of this tournament which held in 2015, the upcoming Bengaluru Open will be bigger in nature, as it will feature high ranked players from 20 countries and will provide USD 100,000 prize money including the hospitality to the winners of the tournament.
"The Government of Karnataka is happy to provide support to the Bengaluru Open which is one of the biggest event on the ATP circuit in the Asian region. Through our support, we intend to not only promote but help in growing the sport," said Rajneesh Goyal, the Additional Chief Secretary, Youth Empowerment and Sports, Government of Karnataka, during the launch.
According to the structure of Bengaluru Open, it will have a draw of 32 with 22 players and an opportunity to direct entry, including four wildcards, four qualifiers (draw of 32) and two from special category.
The top two seeds of this tournament will be the Slovakian BlaÅ¾ KavÄiÄ, the current world rank 100 in singles ranking and the Moldovan ace Radu Albot, who is the 86th No. player in ATP ranking list.
While the Indian ace Yuki Bhambri will be participating in this tournament as ATP top-rank player from the country, two players from the national Davis Cup team, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan will also join the world class tournament.
On the other hand, 2015 Wimbledon junior doubles champion Sumit Nagal, 2017 Arjuna Award winner Saketh Myneni and the 27-year-old Sriram Balaji, including European Open doubles winner Divij Sharan and Olympian Vishnu Vardhan will be other favourites for the hosts in Bengaluru Open.
However, Myneni who was sidelined due to an injury almost for six months had attended the launch ceremony and said, "Although we have a lot of talented players, it is difficult for them to break in the top-100 owing to the dearth of events like this and it is a long process to climb up the ladder."
Since Bengaluru became one of the five hosts to stage ATP event after China, Pune and two tournaments from Vietnam, according to the organizers it is considered as a big opportunity to encourage national talents. As announced, the former National coach and Development Officer of All India Tennis Association, Sunil Yajaman will be the Tournament Director while Frenchman Stephane Cretois would be the ATP Supervisor.
During the tournament launch occasion, India's Davis Cup coach Zeeshan Ali also expressed his views and said that it is a big tournament for Bengaluru aka India, which would be a huge opportunity for Indian players to seal their rank within 100.
Here is the list of the players with their ATP ranking: