Friday, August 7, 2009

Aircel becomes title sponsor for Chennai Open

The Tamil Nadu Tennis Association (TNTA) has signed a two-year deal with cellular operator Aircel, which will make the telecom company the title sponsors of the ATP Tour Chennai Open for 2010 and 2011. Henceforth the tournament will be known as Aircel Chennai Open until the end of the contract. The telecom player is the third title sponsor, after ITC and Tata, in the history of the event, which has been a regular feature in the sports calendar of the city for the last 13 years. The $ 4,50,000 prize money event, scheduled for the first week of January will start on January 4. The total expense for conducting Chennai Open will be approximately $ 2 million (Rs 9.5 crore) and Aircel will shell out Rs 5 crore.

IMG, a sports and entertainment company which owns the tournament, will be joined by TNTA and All-India Tennis Association (AITA) in organising the event. Earlier this year, during the last edition of the event, tournament director Fernando Soler and Ravi Krishnan had expressed their desire to continue the event in Chennai. "The first week of January is normally buzzing with activity with tournaments happening in other parts of the world but we will try to bring in a strong field," said Ravi Krishnan, president and managing director, IMG - South Asia. Though IMG has always been happy with the success of the tournament, the end of the previous contract, which was a five-year agreement, had cast a shadow over the event. Curiously, Somdev Devvarman's stupendous show which took him to the final had made the 2009 edition a grand success. And now that TNTA has managed to get the renewed support of Tamil Nadu government besides getting a new title sponsor, Chennaites will hope to see the rise of new talents. The organisers also confirmed the backing of government of TN for the event.

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