When player pull-outs / retirements threatened to get out of hand at the 2014 Aircel Chennai Open on Thursday, a few journalists wanted none other than Gerry Armstrong, ATP supervisor of the Open for many years, to  address the media. 

Instead, tournament director Tom Annear emerged and answered uncomfortable questions forcefully and diplomatically when needed. 

Wonderful team

Interacting with his staff, the players and their agents, the media and sponsors, among others, are his prime duties and the American has his hands full, but says he doesn’t want it any other way.

“I have a really wonderful team. I enjoy working here,” he says. Annear promises that the SDAT-Nungambakkam Stadium will receive a facelift for the 2015 Chennai Open.

The Tamil Nadu Government has given a grant of Rs. 4.5 crore and work is expected to begin after the Challengers in February this year.

“There will be modifications to the Centre Court and outside courts,” Annear says. 

The 51-year-old says IMG’s priority has always been to give the best of facilities to players, fans and all stakeholders of South Asia’s only ATP event.

“This time too we spoke to Roger Federer among other top 10 players,” he says. “It is a regular process which begins in March and ends in September every year.” 

According to Annear, given the competitive landscape — there are simultaneous ATP tournaments in Doha and Brisbane — the Chennai Open has done pretty well.

Annear has clearly fallen in love with the city and the Chennai Open. “It’s been rewarding,” he says, and on the city he says, “It’s controlled chaos on the roads and I say this as a compliment.”

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