Upcoming Indian player Sasikumar Mukund will be making his ATP World Tour debut after getting a wildcard for the Tata Open Maharashtra starting next week in Pune.
Arjun Kadhe also received wild card entry into the singles as well the doubles draw with Rohan Bopanna. Saket Myneni and French Open semi-finalist Earnest Gulbis were also given wildcards for the singles qualifiers, the tournament organisers confirmed on Friday.
This will be the third edition of India’s only ATP 250 tournament, scheduled in Pune from February 3 to 9.
With Kadhe and Mukund’s inclusion, five Indian players will now feature in the 28-player singles main draw with 19 making direct entry.
Earlier, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Sumit Nagal made it to the main draw with direct entries while Ramkumar Ramanathan was given a wildcard. Two more players will come in as special exempts and four will come through the qualification round.
“This will be the first time that there are so many Indian players in the main draw, which is a great opportunity for them as one of the primary goals of hosting this ATP Tour event in India has been to provide Indian players with a platform to not only get exposure but also help earn crucial ranking points,” Tournament Director Prashant Sutar said.
The doubles world No 38 Bopanna, who clinched the title in the last edition along with Divij Sharan, will lead the Indian challenge again. Sharan, who will partner with Artem Sitak, has already made the main draw with a direct entry.
“We are also introducing shot clocks for the first time in this tournament,” said Sunder Iyer, the Secretary of Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association, which organises the event.
The shot clocks will see counting 25 seconds allowed between the points. It was trialled at the Next Gen ATP Finals in 2007 and has been in use at all ATP events now.
The third edition of event will also see the highest cash reward in the tournament’s history, with a total prize money of $546,355.
The main draw will be announced on Saturday. The qualification rounds will be played on Saturday and Sunday.