AITA wants to vet ATP, WTA events

The AITA says it now wants all international tournaments to come through them and not through other promoters.

updated: September 16, 2008 09:00 IST
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New Delhi:

Mahesh Bhupathi's entrepreneurial venture Globosport was under fire from the All India Tennis Association or the AITA last week. Globosport and Reliance were both organising tennis tournaments this year but both fell through allegedly because of lack of sponsorship. The AITA says it now wants all international tournaments to come through them and not through other promoters and Bhupathi surprisingly says he has no problem with that stipulation even though it's detrimental to his business.

India hosts four events on the international tennis circuit and this year two of them have been cancelled, the ATP Bangalore Open slated for September and WTA Sunfeast Open in October. This hasn't gone down well with the All India Tennis Association which now plans to work with the ATP & and the WTA before sanctioning a tournament to a private promoter. While this move would work to the disadvantage of companies such as Bhupathi backed Globosport, the 10-time Grand Slam winner has welcomed this diktat in the better interests of the country.

However he doesn't have any answers as to why India has just lost two international tournaments this year.

"Bhupathi's company Globosport had to cancel the Sunfeast Open this year and the men's Bangalore Open also fell through with the local promoter a reliance company citing security concerns. That's something which embarrassed the AITA or the All India Tennis Association who were quick to issue a diktat that all tournaments will come through us and not private promoters," said AITA Secretary Sunil Khanna.

"No private promoter has the right to give the country a bad name and if AITA is going to step in, get involved and make sure this doesn't happen in the future, then they are more than justified in what they did," opined Bhupathi.

Mahesh wasn't willing to elaborate on the reasons for why his tournament is off. Sunfeast hasn't renewed its sponsorship probably because Sania did not play last year or probably because it's getting harder to get big names to India.

Sadly losing international events hurts the Indian players the most since many of them get wildcards to play at events for which they may not be able to qualify otherwise.

Mahesh Bhupathi is doing his bit to ensure there are more Lee-Heshs and Sania Mirza in the making so that tournaments such as the Bangalore Open have enough Indian star power to sustain sponsor interest.