The last two winners of the Bengaluru Tennis Open — Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Sumit Nagal — have been given first-round byes for the 2020 edition of the ATP Challenger tournament that starts Monday, while Indian tennis legend Leander Paes gets a wildcard entry in the doubles competition.
Runner-up in the previous edition Saketh Myneni is understandably all for it, as following closely in the trail of the Tata Open Maharashtra, the Bengaluru Tennis Open is another reason for the big names of Indian tennis to shine in front of the home fans.
“It is big to have home-court advantage in an important event like the Bengaluru Open. Let’s hope another Indian wins the tournament, just like the last two years," Saketh Myneni said in a press conference on Saturday.
The seventh-seeded Prajnesh Gunneswaran will face the winner of the first-round match between Russia's Bogdan Bobrov and Croatia's Matija Pecotic, while eighth seed Sumit Nagal will face the winner of the round-of-32 clash between fellow Indian Arjun Kadhe and Malek Jaziri of Tunisia.
A total of five wildcards were handed out for the singles competition, including reigning national champion Niki Poonacha, Arjun Kadhe of Pune, and Karnataka up-and-comers Prajwal Dev, Adil Kalyanpur and Suraj Prabodh.
Leander Paes’ farewell tour to make a stop at Bengaluru
On the doubles side, Indian tennis legend Leander Paes has been granted a wildcard. After bowing out from the quarter-final round of the Tata Open Maharashtra, the 46-year-old will once again pair up with Australia's Matthew Ebden and face Slovenia's Blaz Rola and Zhang Zhizhen of China in the first round.
Tata Open Maharashtra semi-finalists Purav Raja and Ramkumar Ramanathan will take on the wildcard pair of Prajwal Dev and Adil Kalyanpur.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Sumit Nagal will double-dip as well, as they take on the third-seeded duo of Sweden’s Andre Goransson and Indonesia’s Christopher Rungkat.
The most lucrative ATP Challenger
The Bengaluru Tennis Open 2020 — the third edition of the ATP Challenger tournament — is set to be one of its most star-studded yet. Aside from the aforementioned local stars, four international players ranking among the top 100 of the world will be in the mix as well.
Leading that line-up will be World No. 69, Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania, ahead of Italy's Stefano Travaglia (74) of Italy, Japan's Yuichi Sugita (91), and James Duckworth (94) of Australia.
The most lucrative on the circuit, the Bengaluru Tennis Open comes with a prize pot of $162,480 making it the most generous on the ATP Challenger schedule.
The Bengaluru Tennis Open didn’t take place in 2019, after being held in November in both 2017 and 2018, as it was planned to be moved closer to the 2020 Olympics.
Where to watch the Bengaluru Tennis Open
Held between February 10-16 at the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association in Bengaluru, the coverage of Bengaluru Tennis Open 2020 will be streamed live on the ATP website.