1996 – 2015: Surging ahead with confidence, Aircel Chennai Open to celebrate two decades of world-class tennis in India
Thanks to the support of the Government of Tamil Nadu, the Twentieth Year celebrations of India and South Asia’s only ATP World Tour event to include host of exciting activities, new initiatives, and renewed enthusiasm for the game
CHENNAI, AUGUST 20, 2014: With Thomas Enqvist and Mark Petchey’s first tennis match, the seeds of India’s first and only ATP World Tour stop were sown in 1996. 20 years down, the tournament has grown into a marquee ATP tennis event in South Asia, giving birth to many a tennis champion, attracting some of the finest names in the world tennis circuit, and spawning a multitude of fans across the nation. The 2015 edition of the Aircel Chennai Open will mark 20 years since the very first game was played in India and the organizers are all set to celebrate the occasion with a host of activities in Chennai. The event is scheduled to be held at Chennai’s SDAT Stadium from January 5th to 11th 2015.
The celebration includes the launch of a special logo created to mark the occasion, a renovated SDAT Stadium that has hosted the event proudly since 1997 after it shifted from New Delhi, and a host of special activities targeted at fans and tennis enthusiasts including schoolchildren and the youth, apart from exciting marketing initiatives across India.
As a tournament that has been India’s only ATP World Tour stop for two decades, the tournament has had a long and exhilarating journey in India. This has been made possible thanks to the constant support of the Government of Tamil Nadu, the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association (TNTA), the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu, the All India Tennis Association (AITA), the ATP, and organizers IMG Reliance that put together all their resources into developing the tournament into a bigger and better property each year.
Chennai has grown to become the indisputable home of tennis in India and the tournament has helped place the city on the international tennis map. Chennai’s tennis fans have given the tournament their unstinting support, and it is hardly surprising that the world’s best players love playing because the fans they play in front of are knowledgeable and immensely committed to the game. Tennis’ popularity in the city is evident in the fact that the number of spectators attending the tournament in the first round has gone up each year. Rafael Nadal once said, “I like the crowd and their enthusiasm and support and they always push you to give your best.”
Throughout its existence, the event has seen new faces emerge to play tennis for the country. The international nature of the event gives an opportunity to Indian players to compete with the best, understand how they prepare mentally and physically before and after the match and recognize what goes into getting to the top.
The ATP World Tour 250 event has built a strong legacy for being a ‘Springboard of Champions’, with former winners including Grand Slam champions Pat Rafter and Carlos Moya. Apart from Rafter and Moya, players to have graced the courts in the past include Rafael Nadal, Boris Becker, Richard Krajicek, Yvgeny Kafelnikov, Byron Black and India’s own Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi. The tournament continues to attract some of the best-known and emerging players from the world of tennis.
Mr. M.A Alagappan, President of Tamil Nadu Tennis Association said, “As we celebrate two decades of the tournament in the country, it gives us an opportunity to not just celebrate the occasion but look back with pride at our achievements and renew our focus to take the tournament to greater heights in the seasons to come. I congratulate everyone involved and thank India’s tennis community for its support.”
Ashu Jindal, Chief Operating Officer, IMG Reliance, said, “The 20-year journey of the tournament has been nothing short of spectacular. The event has become a role model in the region and we are thrilled with the progress that has been made in every area of the game. Since its arrival in the city, the event has weaved itself into the fabric of Chennai and is now a integral part of Chennai’s culture. We plan to celebrate the occasion with a host of activities and it is a pleasure to have arrived at this landmark year.”
Tom Annear, Tournament Director, Aircel Chennai Open said, “The Aircel Chennai Open has become the longest running annual tennis event in South Asia and I am glad that we are completing the 20th year in 2015. As we endeavor to set new benchmarks with each edition, this milestone gives us reason to celebrate our achievements and congratulate each stakeholder for the fantastic efforts over the years. It has been our aim to place India into the top league of tennis playing nations in the world and I am glad that we are getting closer to that with each passing year.”
About Aircel Chennai Open 2015
The USD 450,000 Aircel Chennai Open, owned by IMG and operated and organised by IMG Reliance, is India’s and South Asia’s only ATP World Tour event. Started in 1996, by IMG, a global leader in sports management and marketing, the event has completed 20 successful years of existence, branding Chennai and India on the global tennis map thus creating a legacy of sorts of promoting international tennis in India. Winner of the prestigious ATP’s Player Services Award of Excellence (2006) for its outstanding organization and wonderful hospitality towards the participants and ATP’s Best Marketing Award (2008), the tournament has acquired the status of a much sought-after tennis event for both players and fans alike in the International tennis circuit. The 20th edition of the event in India and 19th in Chennai will be held from 5th – 11th January, 2015 at the SDAT Tennis stadium in Nungambakkam, Chennai. The tournament is conducted in Chennai with the active collaboration of the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) and Tamil Nadu Tennis Association (TNTA).
IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion and media operating in more than 30 countries around the world. IMG’s businesses include Events & Media, College, Golf, Tennis, Performance and IMG Academy, Fashion, Models, Clients, Consulting, Licensing, Joint Ventures, and creative management agency Art + Commerce. In 2014, IMG was acquired by WME, the world’s leading entertainment and media agency. Together, the companies offer an unparalleled client roster; world-class partnerships with sponsors, brands and broadcasters; and marquee assets across entertainment, events and fashion.
About IMG Reliance
IMG Reliance Pvt Ltd., is an equal joint venture between Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), India’s largest and most recognized private sector company, and IMG Worldwide (IMG), the world’s leading sports marketing and management company. The joint venture company will develop, market and manage sports and entertainment in India. Its current assets include India’s premier fashion event, Lakmé Fashion Week and South Asia’s only ATP World Tour event, the Aircel Chennai Open. IMG Reliance has entered agreements with the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) to create a new professional basketball league and manage all aspects of the commercial rights to the game in India and the All India Football Federation (AIFF), to improve, popularize and promote the game of football throughout India, from the grassroots to the professional level. IMG Reliance has also created a scholarship program to identify and train talented young Indians from sports including – basketball, soccer and tennis-at IMG’s world-class sports training facilities at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Florida.