CHENNAI: “Same-same, but different. But still same.” This quote from the less-than-stellar The Interview may not be apt in this situation, but let it marinate for a while and it’ll stick. This year, the Chennai Open celebrated its 20-year anniversary, hence a commemorative logo was launched. For next year’s edition, the same logo will make an appearance... the first edition was held in New Delhi, so it’s 20 years in Chennai now. Even defending champion Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland is back!
Jokes aside, there are some big changes from last year. For starters, nine players ranked within the top 50 are part of the main draw this time. Secondly, World No 91 Yuki Bhambri has got a direct entry for the first time. In another change from 2014, the three wild cards haven’t been announced yet. Which Indian is going to get it? “We can announce the wild cards three days before the tourney begins. There’s no hurry. Sometimes it’s good to keep things close to the chest,” an official said.
French Open winner Wawrinka is joined by four top-25 members — No 12 Kevin Anderson of South Africa, France’s 19th-ranked Benoit Paire and No 25 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Gilles Muller, Vasek Pospisil, Borna Coric and Aljaz Bedene complete the top-50 line-up. Meanwhile, former No 9 Nicolas Almagro returns to Chennai after a four-year gap.
MA Alagappan, president of the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association, paid tribute to the sole ATP event on Indian soil. “The Chennai Open has grown from strength to strength with each passing year, and continues to be an enduring and respected part of India’s sporting fabric.”