Indian Legend Vijay Amritraj held a press conference with the press at the main draw ceremony of the WTA Chennai Open. ITD Member Srividya spoke to Mr Amritraj as part of the press conference to get his thoughts
We have two Tamil Nadu girls playing in the qualifying draw, Lakshmi and Samhitha. Any thoughts on them?
Yes, the most important thing for our girls is to give them the opportunity both in smaller tournaments and then bigger tournaments. This of course is a big event for our girls. I think they just need to compete more at higher and higher levels. and the simple answer is both in men and in women we just need to keep getting better. The quality of tennis today on the WTA tour is absolutely outstanding! A very, very high level of tennis. The ball is struck hard, there is a mental IQ that is incredible, the strategic importance is incredible. All these girls are playing just incredible world class tennis. So you continually have to, you have to train hard, get better. We have to be strong in the third set, you can’t let go of the early part of these matches and let the match run away from you. There’s a lot of strengthening that we need to do, there’s a lot of improvements that you need to have and these are the kinds of events that will give them that opportunity to see how good their competition is to be able to get it.
Can you call out a few players that you’re most excited to see here?
Yeah, I’ll have to start with Alison Riske-Amritraj on this one, but no, I think the important thing here is to see the quality of tennis in the first round and you see how close everyone is and that’s an important factor. Just because someone is seeded in the top 8 doesn’t mean they are favourites to win. A 17 seeded player won Wimbledon this year, so we know what can happen. Conditions are also warm and evenings, of course, are much better. But I do believe that, you know, you want to see across the board given a chance. I really normally enjoy the 1st and 2nd round matches more than the semis and the final.
How important was getting this event to Chennai?
It was very important for me to get a Women’s event to my home city Chennai. We had a long run of 20 yrs with the ATP 250 event. It is also important to motivate the young girls from Chennai and we hope this event is able to do that.
What does Chennai need to do to retain this event?
This is our first opportunity with the WTA event in Chennai. It is important to review the feedback of the players in terms of the hospitality and the overall conduct. If everything goes well, we will have a good opportunity in the future to make it a recurring event.