Taiwan’s No. 1-ranked male tennis player Lu Yen-hsun will begin his season at the Chennai Open hoping to emulate some of the success he has enjoyed there in the past.
Lu, who is currently ranked 59 in singles and 144 in doubles, is part of a field that includes world No. 6 Tomas Berdych and another three top-20 players for the tournament which starts tomorrow.
World No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia and former champions Marin Cilic of Croatia (15) and Stanislas Wawrinka (17) of Switzerland are the other big names who will be taking to the courts in the southern Indian city.
Also in the field is Frenchman Benoit Paire, who has shown good form this year to rise to No. 47 in the ATP rankings, along with Dutchman Robin Haase and Japan’s Go Soeda.
Lu, 29, has experienced considerable success in the doubles in Chennai, winning the title with Germany’s Rainer Schuettler in 2005 and reaching the final with Tipsarevic in 2010.
Berdych, who defeated Roger Federer in the quarter-finals of this year’s US Open, is returning to Chennai after missing the previous tournament.
Tipsarevic, who lost a marathon final to current title holder Milos Raonic, will be looking to go one better this time.
“It’s a great event,” Tipsarevic said. “You’ve been seeing a lot of me in the last few years, and every year I am playing better and better as you can see and I really want to win the whole thing this year.”
“The Indian crowd is great, and the fact that we play our matches in the evening makes the atmosphere even more electric,” he said.
Two-time champion Cilic said the tournament was good preparation for the Australian Open starting on Jan. 14.
“I’m delighted to be back in Chennai, especially since I could not participate in last year’s event due to an injury,” Cilic said.
I have chosen to start my five previous seasons here and have had great success as a lead up to the Australian Open. It’s always a pleasure to play in Chennai, a city that has grown to become a home away from home for me,” he said.
Wawrinka, who will be playing in the tournament for the fifth time, said Chennai was growing as an early date on the ATP calendar.
“The tournament has become huge over the years and it’s great to see how amazing it gets from year to year. I adore the spectators and preparing for Chennai has a very relaxing feeling to it. Support from the crowd is probably the main reason I come back,” Wawrinka said.
The Indian challenge comes from Somdev Devvarman, who is returning from injury and will be eager to begin a fresh season with some wins under his belt, and talented youngster Yuki Bhambri, who will aim to make the most of his wild card after a second-round showing last year.
Additional reporting by Staff writer