AITA sets precondition

Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: The All India Tennis Association (AITA), in a bid to promote the game in the country, has set a precondition to organise ATP and WTA tournament in future.

The organisers of ATP and WTA meets, as per the recent decision by the AITA general body, will have to give an undertaking to conduct either two Challengers or Futures in the same State where they propose to hold the ATP or WTA meets in the same calendar year, it was learnt.

In the event of the organisers' inability to conduct the additional tournaments, the AITA permission could be obtained by paying $50,000 to 60,000. This amount would be given back to the State association to enable it to hold the events.

Such a step was mooted in the executive council meeting of the AITA on September 21 and subsequently the EC recommendation was approved at the AGM the next day. The meeting also formed a five-man committee headed by secretary general Anil Khanna to consider future applications in this regard. The other members of the committee were Bharat Ojha, M.P. Shankar (Tamil Nadu), C.S. Sundar Raju (Karnataka) and Hironmoy Chatterjee (Bengal).

The decision is likely to come into force either in 2006 or 2007.

When contacted, the Bengal Tennis Association (BTA) secretary, Chatterjee, said it would be difficult for the State association to organise any more event after an ATP or WTA tournament because sponsorship would be hardly forthcoming. "After all, private organisers are only interested in making money. They would hardly plough back some money to promote the game in the State,'' he observed.

For example, approximately Rs. 6.5 crore was raised to organise the recently-held WTA tier III tournament at the Netaji Indoor Stadium.

Also the idea to hold more Challengers and Futures was to allow Indian players to gain valuable points to break into top 200 or less so that it would be easier for them to get direct entry into the main draw. The AITA would also like to have more Satellite tournaments to enable the Indians to gain points.

Consequent to these decisions, the AITA would scrap the Super Series in future.

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