Karnataka government committed to host Bengaluru Open till 2020

Karnataka’s Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge wishes to take Bengaluru Open to Challenger Tour level in the next few years.

REPRESENTATIONAL IMAGE   -  V. SREENIVASA MURTHY

Karnataka’s Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge, on Thursday, said the state government is committed to host Bengaluru Open till 2020.

“As a minister I have committed myself to host Bengaluru Open till 2020. I am optimistic that it would lay foundation for stakeholders to gradually upgrade this tournament to Challenger Tour level and make Bengaluru an international sports destination,” he told PTI.

The USD 150,000 competition is scheduled to be held at KSLTA from November 12 to 17.

In-form Prajnesh Gunneswaran and top-100 players such as Radu Albot (89) from Moldova and Russian Evgeny Donskoy (99) are featuring in the tournament.

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Kharge, who is also Bengaluru Open Organising Committee Chairman, said the Tourism Department has given Rs 75 lakh and Sports Department will be giving Rs. 1 crore to host the competition.

“Remaining money will be raised through sponsorships,” he added.

For now, Pune is the only city to host ATP Tour level tournament in India.

“To have ATP Tour event, we need to be consistent in holding one or two tournaments, so that we can tell the world - look we have a tournament which is affordable,” said Kharge.

The Tamil Nadu Tennis Association hosted Chennai open for 21 years, from 1997 to 2017.

Indian players need better tournaments so that they can compete against quality players to improve their rankings, Kharge said.