Bengaluru: India’s Davis Cup coach Zeeshan Ali on Thursday said that the country needs to host more ATP Challenger events for players to improve their ranking.
“An event like this – a 150,000-dollar tournament plus hospitality – is a huge opportunity for players,” said Zeeshan.
“We need to have more of these tournaments. Players are also looking forward to coming because of the precious ATP points. It helps the players get that breakthrough. Sumit Nagal won last year. He was ranked close to 400s and improved his ranking. That’s what our players need.”
Ali was speaking during the launch of this year’s Bengaluru Open, which will be held from November 12 to 17 at Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association Stadium. The tournament, one of three ATP Challenger events hosted by India, gets bigger this time with the prize money increased from $100,000 to $150,000.
India’s top singles players, including Ramkumar Ramanathan, Yuki Bhambri, defending champion Sumit Nagal and Prajnesh Gunneswaran are slated to participate in the tournament.
Nagal had jumped 96 places and reached a career-best ranking of 225 after his fairytale win last year.
KSLTA will conduct a national-level ranking tournament from October 22 to 27 and its winner will secure a direct entry into the main draw of the Bengaluru Open.
“With the Davis Cup also coming up against Italy in February and rankings being one of the criteria for selection, this tournament will be important,” Zeeshan said.
Bengaluru Open will now be one of the biggest ATP Challenger tournaments in Asia. India is only fourth country in Asia to host the highest category Challenger tournament, which offers 100 ranking points and a prize purse of USD 18,000 to the winner.
China hosts three events of USD 150,000 (Anning, Ningbo and Jinan), Chinese Taipei two (Santaizi and Kaohsiung) while Korea (Busan) hosts one.
Most of the USD 150,000 events are in the United States – Newport Beach, Indian Wells, Irving, Chicago, Houston and one is in Monterrey, in Mexico.