Great news for Tennis fans in India! If the reports are to be believed you can watch your favourite stars in action in India during the Maharashtra Open. Yes, you heard it right - the organizers of Maharashtra Open are planning to rope in Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the 2018 edition of the ATP event. The tournament, earlier known as the Chennai Open, is the only ATP 250 event in South Asia. Over the years, Chennai Open had remained one of the landmark events for tennis fans in the country and it will be interesting to see how Pune takes over the mantle.
The tournament will start from January 1st and go on until January 6th with qualifiers being held on 30th and 31st. In the past, tennis legends like Boris Becker, Stanislas Wawrinka, Carlos Moya, Marin Cilic and Rafael Nadal have competed in the tournament. The event generally serves as the platform and helps the players to get some match practice before the start of the gruelling new season and the first slam of the year - Australian Open.
"This year we have a star line-up with the likes of Marin Cilic, Kevin Anderson and the likes of former World No.5 Tommy Robredo playing in the qualifiers, it shows the level of competitiveness in the tournament. From what I understand, Federer and Nadal have a contract with Brisbane (Federer will be competing in Hopman Cup in Perth) for 2018 but after that, we will try our best to get them on board," tournament director Prashant Sutar was quoted by News18.
Sutar also revealed that the biggest challenge for Maharastra Open will be to convince the players to come to the city due to the connectivity with Europe. "The players didn't know that Pune has direct connectivity from Europe, they were concerned about travelling to the city. But all their fears were laid to rest. Cilic is directly flying to Pune from Europe," the tournament director said. The tickets for the tournament go on sale from the 16th of December and it will be interesting to see the kind of response it generates.
Recently, the world number two and one of the most successful players in the Open Era history Federer has refused to anticipate that 2018 would be his last season in tennis. Federer, who chose to sit out the second half of 2016 in order to recover fully from his knee surgery as well as a back problem, made a stunning return to rise to No. 2 in the ATP Rankings. He went on to clinch seven titles during his comeback campaign, including the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
However, the victory at Melbourne Park was particularly special for the Swiss maestro as he defeated his old-rival Rafael Nadal in a five-set thriller. Though Federer's future fixtures are now most likely to be reduced and he would play only when fully fit, the retirement is not at all on his mind yet.
"I currently intend to continue to play for a longer period, hopefully for a few more years. Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open are cornerstones, everything which lies between we'll take it from there," Sport24 quoted Federer as saying. "We'll only step on the court if we are 100 percent fit," he added.
Federer, who received a season-end defeat from David Goffin in the semi-final match of the ATP World Tour Finals, is all set to play in season-opening Australian Open, beginning January 15 at Melbourne Park.
(With Agency Inputs)