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Posted on Feb 07, 06:56PM | IBNS
Kolkata, Feb 7 : Former Davis Cup-per and Calcutta South Club president Jaidip Mukerjea on Thursday said a proposal was made to the All India Tennis Association (AITA) to make mandatory for all the Indian players to participate in the national tennis championship in order to make it more interesting.
Addressing a news-conference to announce the participants at the National Grass Court Tennis championship beginning on Friday at South Club, Mukerjea said a proposal was sent to the national tennis governing body to make it mandatory for all players to participate in the national competition and get rankings to make them eligible for ITF tournaments.
Answering questions on the absence of any crowd puller player at the competition, Mukerjea said they hope to attract many top players of the country to participate in the national competition once the AITA endorse the proposal.
While the qualifying rounds are between Feb 8-10, the championship for main draw for men and women will be held from Feb 11 and final is scheduled for Feb 16.
The main draw will consist of top ranked 32 players for both men and women for the Champions Trophy with total cash prizes of Rs 7 lakh, Rs 2 lakh more from last edition.
Among the players expected are V M Ranjeet and Vijayant Malik, who have participated in Davis Cup for India, alongside Ashwin Vijay Raghavan and Siddharth Rawat, who is top seed at present, and veteran Nitin Kirtane, the second seed.
But the seeding might change when Ranjeet and Malik finally agree to take part by this evening, said tournament director Satyajeet Burman.
In women's defending champion and Olympian Rushmi Chakravarthy will be seen in action with fed cup players Ankita Raina, Rishika Sunkara and most of the top ranked Indian players.
Local favourites and Bengal's No 1 Shivika Burman will start her campaign after a 10 months long lay off from shoulder injury.
Some 200 entries from all over India have confirmed, 50 more than last year, making it the "Player Choice" tournament in the country and undoubtedly the most successful grasscourt nationals.
Like previous years National Jute Board and ONGC sponsored the tournament.