Mumbai: The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, on Wednesday announced the Tata group as title sponsor of the first edition of the Maharashtra Open. The season-opening ATP World Tour event in Maharashtra will be played at the Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium in Pune from January 1-6, 2018, and will be called the Tata Open Maharashtra 2018.
“I feel privileged to announce Tata as the title sponsor of the Maharashtra Open. The group has played a stellar role in upliftment of sports in the best of their capacities and their support to the ATP event organised in our state is a matter of great pride for us,” said Mr Fadnavis. “I would also like to extend my gratitude to Adar Poonawalla for coming on board as presenting sponsor and using sports as a platform to promote his Clean City Initiative, a very noble and one-of-its-kind cause for the city of Pune.”
Commenting on the partnership, N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons, said, “At Tata, we have always believed that developing an interest in sports is an important step in building a society that is focused on fitness and health. The Tata group has been committed to the development of sports and sports persons across many disciplines for nearly a century. We are delighted to partner with the state and MSLTA for the Tata Open Maharashtra, which will showcase tennis to newer audiences and help increase the sport’s popularity among the youth.”
The Chief Minister also unveiled the official Tata Open Maharashtra logo along with tournament officials including Praveen Singh Pardesi (IAS), chairman, organising committee; Banmali Agrawala, president, infrastructure, defense and aerospace, Tata Sons; Pravin Darade, secretary, organising committee; Prashant Sutar, tournament director; and Sunder Iyer, secretary, Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA).
Stating that Maharashtra is fast becoming a sporting destination of India, Mr Fadnavis said the state had successfully hosted the Davis Cup (Pune), ATP Challenger (Pune) and WTA Mumbai Open (Mumbai) in the last few months. “Sports should be an integral part of every individual’s life, and events like these can serve as an inspiration for upcoming talents,” added Mr Fadnavis.
“We are grateful to Tata group and all our sponsors who have backed this prestigious event. With the backing of these like-minded organisations, an event of this magnitude will surely be a standout and sought-after event for players and fans alike and put the state of Maharashtra on the map of world tennis,” said Mr Pardesi.
Introduced in 1996, the tournament has seen the likes of Rafael Nadal, Stanislas Wawrinka, Carlos Moya, Patrick Rafter, Milos Raonic and Marin Cilic gracing the event. Making its debut in Pune, the tournament will be hosted by the MSLTA in association with the Government of Maharashtra and the Department of Sports and Youth Services, the Government of Maharashtra, and promoted by IMG-Reliance.
“It’s a matter of great pride for us to have Tata and Adar Poonawalla Clean City Initiative as our partners for the inaugural edition of Tata Open Maharashtra. Successful delivery of this event needs partners who share the same passion and in Tata, Adar Poonawalla and other sponsors, we have found that. We hope to deliver a memorable debut tournament this year,” said Mr Sutar.
“The cooperation with a global player and respected brand of Tata group’s stature is a great success reflecting the efforts of all the stakeholders over the years to bring the best of the world to India. Making its debut in Pune, the Tata Open Maharashtra will showcase some our best players and ensure we build on our existing fan base and create a new set of fans from the state of Maharashtra,” said Tom Annear, co-tournament director.
Tennis fans can bring in 2018 watching four top-50 players: World No6 Marin Cilic (Croatia), World No14 Kevin Anderson (South Africa), World No20 Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain) and World No42 Robin Haase (Netherlands), among a slew of other top international stars.