ATP Bangalore Open cancelled after row

Published September 3, 2008

NEW DELHI, Sept 2: Angry Indian tennis chiefs on Tuesday vowed not to allow private bodies to organise ATP and WTA events in the country after two tournaments this year were cancelled.

The 400,000-dollar ATP Bangalore Open scheduled for September 29-October 5 was put off indefinitely after local organisers told the men’s tour body the southern city was unsafe to hold the event.

“This is the most ridiculous thing I have heard,” said All India Tennis Association (AITA) secretary Anil Khanna.

“These local organisers can’t find sponsors and big players, so they give security as an excuse without realising they bring a bad name to the country.

“Where is the issue of security? Australia will play a cricket Test in Bangalore next month and the world billiards is currently on there.”

The WTA Sunfeast Open, promoted by Indian doubles specialist Mahesh Bhupathi’s sports management company, will also not be held in Mumbai from October 6-12.

Khanna said the organisers had informed him they had sold the Sunfeast event to another promoter, prompting the AITA to issue a directive preventing private organisers from signing up with the ATP or WTA.

“Their interest is only to make profits and if they can’t find sponsors, they put the image of the nation at risk, and do not honour the commitment of the nation to international events of such magnitude.”

India’s only other ATP event, the Chennai Open in January, attracts star players like world number one Rafael Nadal, who use it to prepare for the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season.

Australia is due to play the first of four cricket Tests against India from October 9 in Bangalore, where a string of bomb blasts in July left one person dead and a dozen injured.

The Australians last month joined a boycott of the Champions Trophy tournament in Pakistan due to security concerns, forcing the International Cricket Council to put off the eight-nation tournament till 2009.—AFP

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