Chennai: The organisers of the Aircel Chennai Open 2014 on Tuesday announced that India’s top singles players World No. 195 Yuki Bhambri and World No.312 Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan have been granted a wild card entry into the $450,000 tournament to be held here from December 30, 2013. Great Britain’s Kyle Edmund, a World No. 377 has also been awarded a singles wild card.
Likewise, Sriram Balaji and Ramkumar Ramanathan, and Karen Khachanov & Saketh Myneni have been awarded doubles wild cards in the event. The entries are a significant recognition of the talent the players possess.
The organisers announced earlier that India’s Somdev Devvarman had entered the singles draw of the event even as Estonia’s Jurgen Zopp pulled out with a back injury.
In 2014, 21-year-old Yuki Bhambri will make a grand slam debut in the prestigious Australian Open men's doubles event. He was granted a wild card to participate after winning the play-off tournament in Shenzhen, China. He could not win the singles tournament, bowing out in the semi finals, but triumphed in the doubles with New Zealand's Michael Venus. In 2013, he also won a Challenger event in Traralgon, Australia and a Futures title in New Delhi.
25-year-old Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, Tamil Nadu’s top ranking tennis player is the second Indian to have been granted a wild card entry. The left-handed player impressed tennis followers by his 50th singles win of the season on the ITF circuit. Nedunchezhiyan continues to participate in tournaments around the world and also touched a career high singles ranking of 305 in October 2013.
The duo of N Sriram Balaji and Ramkumar Ramanathan from Tamil Nadu receive support from TNTA and are coming together for the first time to play doubles at the Aircel Chennai Open. Balaji won his second singles title of the season at an ITF men’s Futures tennis tournament in India. He also has under his belt more than a dozen ITF doubles titles this year. Ramanathan is one of the most promising junior tennis players in the country, and emerged the Junior National champion in 2009 and 2010. He won two ITF singles titles in 2013 in India and Cambodia and is currently enjoying a career high doubles ranking of 413 after winning three doubles titles.
The second doubles pair, also coming together for the first time, is that of Karen Khachanov and Saketh Myneni from Russia and India respectively. At 17 years of age and 6’6” tall, Khachanov is already being touted as a star of the future. This year, he beat Albert Ramos and Janko Tipsarevic en route to the Moscow quarterfinals. It was his second ATP World Tour tournament and the third senior-level event of his career. 26-year-old Myneni, also doing well with a career high doubles ranking of 301, picked up four ITF singles titles in 2013 apart from two doubles titles.
Englishman Kyle Edmund has been granted a singles wild card entry. Ranked 377 after having jumped over 100 places in the Emirates ATP Rankings this season, the 18-year-old is considered to be among Great Britain’s top 5 tennis players. As a junior player, Edmund has won two junior doubles titles, at the 2012 US Open and the 2013 French Open, with Portuguese partner Frederico Ferreira Silva. The right-handed player has had impressive runs at tournaments that include the Aegon International and the 2013 Wimbledon Championships.
Mr. Karti P Chidambaram, Chairman - Tournament Organising Committee & Vice President - AITA Association said, “We are glad to award wild card entries to some very promising and exciting singles and doubles talent. Players such as Yuki, Jeevan, Sriram, Ramkumar and Saketh continue to show a lot of potential and represent the future of Indian tennis. Karen Khachanov and Kyle Edmund have also been performing very well indeed. We are hopeful the players will do very well in the Aircel Chennai Open 2014.”
Tom Annear, Tournament Director, Aircel Chennai Open said, “The Aircel Chennai Open has always presented an exciting playing field to tennis enthusiasts and this year is no different. We are glad the tournament continues to provide India’s most promising players the opportunity to compete at the highest level. We trust that all of the wild card entrants will make the most of this wonderful opportunity and do well in matches.”
Cutting off at 89, the strong player field for the region’s most exciting and hard fought tennis tournament will see an inspiring array of players and include thrilling talent such as World No. 8 Stanislas Wawrinka, World No. 15 Mikhail Youzhny, World No. 16 Fabio Fognini, and World No. 26 Benoit Paire.