Threat looms large over Bangalore Open’s Tier II status

March 4th, 2008 - 10:41 pm ICT by admin  

By Saumojyoti Singha Choudhury
Bangalore, March 4 (IANS) The Canara Bank Bangalore Open is facing a serious threat of being downgraded to Tier III status again with Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) Larry Scott finding the facilities at the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA) as “minimally adequate.” The Bangalore Open, which used to be a Tier III event in WTA calendar, has been upgraded this year to Tier II with an increased prize money of $600,000, thus making it India’s as well as South East Asia’s biggest women’s tennis extravaganza.

However, Scott Tuesday clarified here that the upgradation has been done on a trial basis and a decision on the issue will be taken later after a thorough assessment as the women’s tennis body is all set to restructuring the Tour schedule next season.

“I came here to have a first hand experience of the organization of the tournament. My visit comes at a time when we are finalizing the restructuring of the Tour,” Scott told reporters at the KSLTA.

“From next year the season will be shortened so that it ends in November and players get a good break. The combined number of Tier I and Tier II tournaments will be cut to 20 from 25 and it be called ‘Premier Level’,” he added.

After assessing the facilities required to host a Tier II event, the WTA chairman seemed unsatisfied.

“The facilities at the KSLTA are minimally adequate for a Tier II level tournament. But I will leave with positive views and will assess the impact of this year’s tournament before making a decision.

“Now it depends upon the commitments of the organizers and whether they can sustain the level or not,” said Scott adding “that Bangalore, along with other Middle East and Asian countries are also in contention.”

However, KSLTA secretary and Tournament Director, Sunder Raju is hopeful that this edition of the tournament has met all the basic requirements.

“We believe we have met the basic requirements to host a Tier II event. But we would be developing our facilities and I hope by 2011 everything will be in place,” Raju said.

Whatever be Raju’s claims, Scott’s satisfaction over the game’s market potential in the country should hearten him. Scott also rated India as a priority destination in WTA’s future scheme of things.

“India is a big market for tennis and is a priority for us. The country has got great potential and has opportunity for growth in professional level,” Scott said.

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