HomeLifestyle'It's a miracle': Chennai tennis icon Vijay Amritraj on WTA 250 Chennai...

‘It’s a miracle’: Chennai tennis icon Vijay Amritraj on WTA 250 Chennai Open 2022 event

The city’s biggest tennis tournament is back after a break. Sports icon Vijay Amritraj on what this means for Tamil Nadu

The city’s biggest tennis tournament is back after a break. Sports icon Vijay Amritraj on what this means for Tamil Nadu

The wait for the tennis fans of the city is finally over. The Chennai Open is back, with international women’s tennis players here to participate in the event.

Even since the popular men’s tournament shifted from Chennai to Pune in 2018, the tennis-mad tribe of the city has missed out on watching the live games. Ever since the new state government took power, it was suggested they were ‘very eager’ to bring tennis back to the city.

And, they have. “It really is a miracle,” says Chennai tennis icon and Tamil Nadu Tennis Association president Vijay Amritraj, speaking from a room at the Nungambakkam Tennis Stadium, explaining how the stadium, which has faced neglect over the years , how was changed to make the tournament possible a matter of weeks. Amritraj says, “Without the insistence and support of the state government, honestly, this would have been practically impossible to do.

TNTA President Vijay Amritraj conducting the main draw player event for singles at the WTA Chennai Open at SDAT Tennis Stadium in Nungambakkam

TNTA President Vijay Amritraj conducting the main draw player ceremony for singles at the WTA Chennai Open at SDAT Tennis Stadium in Nungambakkam. photo credit: Srinivasan KV

The TNTA president hosted sportspersons, state government representatives and the people of Chennai at a launch party last Saturday in which players, including high-ranking Eugene Bouchard, walked the ramp in traditional saris.

While there is an expectation that the WTA 250 tournament will generate interest in tennis in the city and state, Amritraj says aspiring players can learn invaluable lessons from professional athletes who are pushing themselves to the top.

“The idea of ​​holding these events is to make sure that you are able to see how these girls train, what they do to warm up and, later, their eating and exercise habits. But, on top of that. And above all, it is a question of how do you set yourself up to get there,” he says.

“They have come here a few days before the tournament, and all day they were practicing. I told him in my welcome letter, try not to play too much between 11 am and 2 pm. But they were all playing there,” he says: “We want young girls to come and watch these matches … to activate themselves. And then the commitment has to come from the athlete. We should not always consider giving wildcards to Indian players; They should be good enough to play on their own,” he says.

Amritraj believes that Tamil Nadu’s position as a global investment destination can be enhanced through sporting events such as the recently held Chess Olympiad. “I want the names of Chennai, Tamil Nadu and India to be seen on television across the world. We are currently in over 100 countries and this is great for us and our sponsors. We should also talk about what we have in Chennai (and Tamil Nadu) – incredible beaches, temples, churches and mosques – as a place to visit and experience food and culture,” he says. Are: “Third, what kind of business can we support? If you are looking to (bring) more investment into the state, you can’t do it better through sports. All these girls, when they go, are our ambassadors who talk a lot about our city and state,” he says.

Acknowledging that as president of the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association, a lot of work needs to be done, Amritraj says, “We must, and can, do a lot. Also, we need players who are as committed as us. But, the one thing we are not going to do is to let the stadium break down again. We’re going to use it to keep everything working. It will look as beautiful as it looks after three months because a lot of work has gone into it.”

Eugene Bouchard walked the ramp in a traditional sari.

Eugene Bouchard walked the ramp in a traditional sari. , photo credit: special arrangement

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