CHENNAI: As doubts begin to gather about the Chennai Open returning to the city next year, the ATP poured cold water over suggestions that the tournament has already shifted out. “I had heard there had been speculation in the press about the future of the event, however, the Board of Directors has not approved any change of location to the Chennai ATP tournament,” an official, who has previously come to the city to oversee the conduct of the World Tour event, told Express on Monday. “Things remain unchanged.”
Doubts were planted after a Government Regulation (GR) letter floated by Maharashtra’s sports department basically said that as the 2018 event will not be held in Chennai, Pune would be ready to step in. One thing essentially prevents Pune or any other city from hosting the 2018 tournament. The ATP Rulebook explicitly states that “...a request to change a tournament site must be submitted in writing by the tournament and received by the appropriate ATP regional office no later than six months prior to the first Monday of the event.”
Chennai Open, according to the ATP 2018 calendar, is scheduled to begin on January 1. That would mean the organisers should have written to the ATP by June 30th, requesting the body about a possible change of venue/location. The organisers have confirmed to Express that they have done nothing of that sort and do not plan to write such a letter now. Owners IMG have a contract to host it in Chennai for two more years and are free to take it out but even then, the choice of venue will have to be ratified by the ATP Board of Directors. The ‘extenuating circumstances’ clause can be used beyond the deadline but the organisers do not plan to use it.
It’s also thought that the event may be shifted out because of the prevailing political climate and an acute cash crunch. However, Dheeraj Kumar, sports and youth welfare secretary, government of Tamil Nadu, quashed those rumours.
“There are no such plans to withdraw our sponsorship of the tournament,” he told Express. “We will continue to allocate funds that were announced earlier.” Other highly placed government sources also confirmed that it would be ‘status quo’ as far as ‘funding’ was concerned. The next few weeks should give us a better picture.
ATP Circuit Regulations
1.03 Match Schedule Plan: Each tournament shall provide ATP, at least one hundred and eighty (180) days prior to the start of the tournament, a typed schedule that includes proposed daily starting times and number of courts to be used.
1.05 Change of Tournament Site: There shall be no change of a tournament site unless approved by ATP. A request to change a tournament site must be submitted in writing by the tournament and received by the appropriate ATP regional office no later than six (6) months prior to the first Monday of the event. Requests submitted after the deadline will only be considered if ATP determines there are extenuating circumstances out of the control of the tournament member. Any and all actual costs incurred by ATP during the site approval process shall be the responsibility of the tournament.