Leander Paes may have preferred to play in the Brisbane International over India’s only ATP event, but the Chennai Open organisers said they have learnt to live without India’s most celebrated player.
The Chennai Open, starting Monday, is now India’s only ATP Tour event and it is the third time in four years that Paes has decided to skip the event.
“As far as we are concerned, we have learnt to live without Leander. In 2009, he lost in the first round. In 2007, he did not come and did not turn up for the2008 event as well. So we have learnt to live without him,” C.B.N. Reddy, Tamil Nadu Tennis Association secretary said.
Paes, winner of 10 Grand Slam titles, has said that he wants to play in the Brisbane event to get used to the Australian conditions to give himself a better chance to win Australian Open men’s doubles, the only title missing from his Major tally.
But Reddy said that Paes did not specify any reasons to them.
“He has not told us any reason. Only he can tell why he is not playing. Our representative personally contacted him and requested him to play. We would love to have him play here. But he did not. What do we do?
“We have a good singles draw and people would come and watch those players,” Reddy said.
Paes and his Czech partner Lukas Dlouhy have been given the top billing at the Brisbane event.
Defending champion and world number 14 Marin Cilic, 2009 French Open finalist Robin Soderling of Sweden and India’s own tennis star Somdev Devvarman are part of a solid singles draw.
P. Karti Chidambaram, the Organising Commitee Chairman, said they made every effort to bring Paes to the Chennai Open.
“There is still time to sign up for the doubles by 6:00 pm today. May be he will sign up. But even in the past this tournament has gone on without him.
“I had a frank and fair discussion with him. He expressed his views and I expressed mine. I told him that this India’s only ATP event and asked for his support,” Chidambaram said without revealing the matter of discussion.
“We would be happy to have him but can’t do much. As organisers we try to bring good Indian players to the tournament,” he said.