The 2017 Chennai Open will present a few brand-name players for Indian tennis fans. This tournament will be a welcome follow-up to the International Premier Tennis League, a December event in India which has struggled commercially and might not have a third annual event at the end of 2017. This will be an interesting tournament, with a major champion and other notables in a lead-in to the Australian Open on January 15. Marin Cilic will be one of the players that highlights the field but defending champion, Stan Wawrinka, will not be. He elected to skip the event after winning it three years in a row.
The competition in the 28-player main draw begins on Monday, January 2.
Event: Chennai Open
Category: ATP 250 Series
Date: January 2-8, 2017
Location: SDAT Tennis Stadium – Chennai, India
With a prize money allotment of just under $450,000, this is a relatively standard amount of money for an ATP 250 tournament. It’s not an electric field, but it matters just the same as a valuable tune-up for the Australian Open. In terms of preparation, not money, this event matters for the pros on tour before the trip to Melbourne.
Champion – 250
Runner-up – 150
Semifinal – 90
Quarterfinal – 45
Former Champions and Results
Year Champion Runner-up Score
2016: Stan Wawrinka d. Borna Coric 6-3, 7-5
2015: Stan Wawrinka d. Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-4
2014: Stan Wawrinka d. Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-5, 6-2
2013: Janko Tipsarevic d. Roberto Bautista-Agut 3-6, 6-1, 6-3
2012: Milos Raonic d. Janko Tipsarevic 6-7(4-7), 7-6(7-4), 7-6(7-4)
Stan Wawrinka, who completed his three-peat in Chennai last year, decided to give his most successful tournament a skip. Wawrinka’s move makes a lot of sense as he’ll get to ply his trade in a more competitive environment in Brisbane. The organizers suffered a mini crisis but managed to rope in Chennai’s old poster boy Marin Cilic.
Marin Cilic will be back in Chennai after three years. A lot has changed in those 36 months. The Croat is now a Grand Slam holder, a reigning champion in Cincinnati, a Davis Cup hero and also is the sixth best player in the world.
Cilic is the star attraction and will receive lots of love and support from the crowd. However, that doesn’t mean Cilic is going to romp home with the title. There is Roberto Bautista-Agut, who was ranked as high as 14th in the world and is playing best tennis of his career. The Spaniard won two titles in 2016 but above all, his victory over then-No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Shanghai gives him the confidence that he has the game to beat anybody.
RBA is joined by another three-named Spaniard: Albert Ramos-Vinolas, for whom 2016 proved to be a breakthrough season. The 28-year-old tour veteran didn’t only win his first ATP career title but also made his first Grand Slam quarterfinal at Roland Garros. Placed at a career high 27th in the rankings, he is almost guaranteed a seed at the Australian Open. That’s a nice little reward for all the hard work and persistence in the times when reaching this far in the rankings looked like a stretch. Ramos-Vinolas is no pushover by any means and like any other Spaniard, he’s a hard competitor. He should see himself as a contender, but does he believe in himself?
Borna Coric, the next generation star, was the finalist last year in Chennai, but the 20-year-old is coming back from a knee injury and hasn’t played for 3-4 months. No wonder he doesn’t fancy himself to repeat the result.
Martin Klizan, who to the surprise of many claimed two ATP 500 titles in the 2016 season, is also present in Chennai. The Slovak can rip his forehand and if he can stay away from injury, he has a real chance. Then there are veterans and solid performers like Mikhail Youzhny and Tommy Robredo, but one guy could surprise–Damir Dzumhur. He isn’t a high-ranked player, neither is he much talked about, but he can play. Watch out for the Bosnian.
SDAT Tennis Stadium
The host of this tournament since 1997, the facility has five hardcourts, with a stadium court seating 5,800 people. This is a government-owned complex, one which can facilitate night tennis as well as daytime matches. The venue has hosted Davis Cup matches for India earlier this decade.
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