With the Tata Open Maharashtra, India’s only tennis event on the ATP or WTA Tour, getting postponed from its original slot in February this year, holding the tournament at a later date in the year is choc-a-bloc with challenges.
Sunder Iyer, the Technical Director of the Tata Open Maharashtra, and All India Tennis Association (AITA) Joint Secretary and Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) Secretary, spoke about the challenges of holding the tournament given the current public health situation in India in a recent interview with Sportskeeda.
What are the current plans for the 2021 Tata Open Maharashtra?
Sunder Iyer: According to me, as of now, it will be very difficult to hold the event because we are currently in the midst of the second wave of the pandemic and there are reports of a third wave being predicted somewhere around September or October.
If that happens, I think the government will be strict about hosting international events. In such conditions it may be difficult to organize even domestic events.
Even if the situation improves and the tournament can be held, we are not sure how many players will come to India. Considering all these factors, it is going to be really tough, but we will take it one step at a time as and when the situation improves.
Sportskeeda: Recently, there was an ITF tournament held in Pune, which was among the first to take place in Asia amid the pandemic. Can you tell us about the experience in terms of adhering to protocols of the tour, the government, and local authorities?
Sunder Iyer: The most challenging part of any tournament right now is to have an incident-free event and ensure there is no COVID-19 positive person at the event. During the four events we had recently in India, there was only one positive case on the last day of the last event.
Right now, on the ITF calendar, there are very few events and we are proud that we were able to organize these. We were successful because we planned well and followed the guidelines. There were many ITF meetings to show how we should run the tournament and how things should take place.
This was probably one of the toughest tournaments to organize; everything needed to be planned properly. It was a great experience for all of us. We now know that we are capable of hosting bigger tournaments in these conditions, subject to clearances.
You can read the complete interview of Sunder Iyer on the Sportskeeda page here