Corporates thwart move to shift ''Chennai open'' out of TN

Chennai: An 11-member consortium of sponsors, predominantly Chennai-bassed companies, has helped retain South Asia's only ATP tennis tournament in the city. As there are multiple sponsors, the tournament is now called Chennai Open 2005.

It may be recalled, till last year the Tata group had sponsored the event and was called Tata Open. Last year, there were rumours of the event being shifted to Hyderabad.

However, at the initiative of the state government and Tamil Nadu Tennis Association, sponsors were roped in. Starting next year, the $4 lakh event will be held in Chennai till 2009.

The event has two categories of sponsors. The 'platinum' comprises the government and Tamil Nadu, Indian Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, United India Insurance Company Limited and Indian Oil Corporation Limited and 'gold' comprising corporates like the Murugappa Group, Saint Gobain Glass India Limited, Sundaram Finance Limited, Larsen & Toubro Limited, Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited, and Steel Authority of India Limited.

Top players like Carlos Moya, the defending champion, Paradorn Srichaphan, former champion and last year runner up, Australian Open finalist Rainer Schuettler and Jonas Bjorkman have confirmed participation in the tournament. While Mahesh Bhupathi of India has confirmed participation, the organisors have to hear from Leander Paes.

The tourney will be held from January 3 to January 9, 2005. The qualifying rounds will be held on January 1 and January 2, 2005.