Bengaluru, March 8: The Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA) will host the US $ 15,000 prize money SKME ITF Open, a part of the International Tennis Federation’s World Tennis Tour from March 14 to 20. The event which is sponsored by Sri Kumaraswamy Mineral Exports Private Limited, comes close on the heels of KSLTA hosting the twin-legged Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger which concluded last month. Karnataka State Minerals have signed up as the Associate Sponsors while The Singareni Collieries Company Limited are the co-sponsors of the event.
“KSLTA is proud to host a fourth International event in as many months post the Covid pandemic break. KSLTA, through the international events, plans to support the players from India and Karnataka to play with home advantage and opportunities to earn valuable world ranking points. I am thankful to Sri Kumaraswamy Mineral Exports Private Limited for coming on board as the title sponsor,” said Mr. Maheshwar Rao, Hon. Secretary, KSLTA.
“India has produced a number of tennis players who have achieved international recognition. The next-generation of tennis players have a huge opportunity to succeed and I hope that our support by partnering with the ITF World Tennis Tour event will help the fringe players, especially from India to hop on to bigger Tours using this event as a platform,” said Mr. Shantesh Gureddi, Managing Director, Sri Kumaraswamy Mineral Exports Private Limited.
The week-long event is sandwiched between two other ITF 15 K events scheduled in India – Bhopal and New Delhi and thus promises a good international field while giving more opportunities for the home grown players. The main draw will be a round of 32 with 18 of them getting a direct entry including two special exemptions, two junior exemptions, four wild cards and eight qualifiers. The qualifying draw will also be a round of 32 with 26 direct entries and six wild cards. The qualifying rounds will be held on the 13th and 14th of March while the main event begins from March 15.
“We are happy that competitive tennis is back on a full scale after a two-year-break. After having hosted three international events, we are all geared up to host the fourth event. We have a very strong field comprising some of the best top players from India and abroad,” said Peter Vijay Kumar, Tournament Director. “This event should act as an ideal platform, especially for Indian men’s tennis players, to improve their ranking,” he added.
India’s Mukund Sasikumar who has five ITF Futures titles to his credit, leads the field while the foreign challenge comes in the form of Austrian Lukas Krainer, Dominik Palan of Czech Republic, German Robert Strombachs and Englishman Julian Cash. Winner of the Bengaluru Open 2 doubles title Arjun Kadhe, Sidharth Rawat, Manish Sureshkumar, Niki Poonacha and Nitin Kumar Sinha will be other Indians to watch.