The MSLTA has written to the ATP for rescheduling the Tata Open Maharashtra in the second half of the 2021 season, expressing inability to host the country’s premier tennis event in February due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA), the beleaguered state tennis body, has a number of issues to contend with if it has to host the ATP 250 tournament.
The state government has not allowed resumption of competitions in Maharashtra due to the pandemic and has put in place a strict mandatory 14-day quarantine period for all visitors, a condition which ATP does not want to fulfill as of now.
The ATP wants that players be exempted from the quarantine period and a bio-secure bubble be created, which means a steep hike in the cost for the event.
“The 2021 calender is being re-made. There are a lot of ifs and buts. We have asked ATP to give us a slot in the latter half of the season after the rainy season ends. A slot between October and November would be suitable for us,” Tournament Director Prashant Sutar told PTI.
“The ATP does not want quarantine for players but we can’t deviate from the state government’s guidelines. Also creating a bio-bubble means an exclusive hotel for all. This is not a Grand Slam event, so it is a bit difficult to manage for us,” he said.
Creating a bio-bubble means that all the players, coaches, linesmen, other officials, ball boys and volunteers have to be put up together. All part of the event also have to be tested for COVID-19 every third day.
“All of it means that cost would increase manifold. Let’s see what ATP tells us. Wa are awaiting their reply. If they agree to players’ quarantine, we will then host in the last week of February as scheduled. If not, then the October month suits us,” Sutar said.
MSLTA secretary Sunder Iyer, who is also AITA joint secretary, said they have also postponed the sixth edition of the KPIT Challenger tournament.
“Safety of players and all other participants is paramount. We can’t even host a national tournament due to government guidelines, so how can an international event he held. We will host the Challenger next year.
“We have permission for only training and not competitions,” said Iyer.
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