No top-20 players sign up for Tata Open Maharashtra 2020

The Tata Open Maharashtra will not feature a single top-20 player, let alone top-10, whereas the previous editions have had at least two top-20 players.

Frenchman Benoit Paire, ranked 24, will be the top billing at the Tata Open Maharashtra 2020.   -  R. Ragu

The long-running streak of at least one top-10 player turning up for India's only ATP 250 event, the Tata Open Maharashtra (Aircel Chennai Open till 2017), is set to be snapped.

The 19-player direct acceptance list announced on Tuesday for this year's event (February 3 to 9) doesn't feature a single top-20 player, let alone top-10, whereas in the last few years the competition has had at least two top-20 players.

In the earlier avatar, the tournament occupied the coveted season-opening slot but this year it will be sandwiched between the Australian Open and the hard-court swing in the Americas.

Frenchman Benoit Paire, ranked 24, leads the player roster, with the next highest being Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis (66). Other notable names include 40-year-old Ivo Karlovic (finalist 2019) and Czech Jiri Vesely. German Peter Gojowczyk is the last direct entrant at 117. The top-two Indian singles players, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Sumit Nagal, are ranked 124 and 130 respectively.

 

Other than the 19 direct acceptances, there will be two special exempts, three wild cards and four qualifiers to round off the 28-man playing field. There may yet be a possibility of a big star picking up a wild card to enter the tournament. But the chances, at present, appear slim.

"During our discussions with some of the top players that we wanted to bring, there was an indication that the Europeans will return to Europe after the Australian Open," said Prashant Sutar, the Tournament Director. "But, having said that, the players who will come to Pune have produced some outstanding results recently and we are confident that the tournament will be of a high level," he added.

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