2017 Mumbai Open
India will be hosting its first WTA event for the first time in five years come November 20th: the 2017 Mumbai Open. The Mumbai Open forms part of the WTA 125K challenge and will afford local players the opportunity to compete with top world-class players.
The initiative to bring the WTA event to India was spearheaded by the Maharashtra
State Lawn Tennis Association. MSLTA secretary general Sunder Lyer said that the time had come for Indian players to be afforded the opportunity of playing against the big shots and be able to move up in the world rankings.
Top Indian players, including Ankita Raina, Karman Kaur Thandi and Rutuja Bhosale, were previously not able to move up significantly in world rankings simply because there had been no qualifying events or outlets for top Indian players to be able to prove themselves.
The last time that India hosted a WTA event was back in 2012.
Mumbai Open Format
There will be four wild card entries on offer for the first Mumbai Open. Top Indian players are likely to secure these automatic entries. With the exception of Ankita Raina, no other top Indian player has been able to gain direct entry into the main draws of the 125K Series due to their rankings and lack of opportunity to climb the ladder.
The Mumbai Open will be functional in opening the door to the Australian Open for top Indian players, who up until now had not been able to qualify or compete.
Ankita Raina is obviously excited, saying that the Mumbai Open will be great exposure for all Indian players since it was quite tough to qualify for any WTA event under the present circumstances. Raina went on to say that it would be ideal if AITA would be in a position to host more similar events.
Another problem with major WTA events in India is as lack of funding to promote and orchestrate the events. MSLTA director Prashant Sutar is of the opinion that if these proposals end up before corporates and governments with the right vision, that it should not prove an impossible task to have sufficient funds allocated to run the major events.
Sutar will be the tournament director for the Mumbai Open and has said that the hope is that Ankita Raina as well as Rutuja Bhosale will be qualifying to play, whether by wild card or qualification.
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