Bhambri uses Protected Ranking to enter Tata Open Maharashtra qualifying event
The 30-year-old Yuki, who is now placed outside top-500 in the ATP singles chart, still has to chance to make the singles main draw in case there are withdrawals.
Indian tennis player Yuki Bhambri will compete in the qualifying event of the Tata Open Maharashtra, country's only ATP 250 event, by using his Protected Ranking of 127, the organisers said on Thursday. The 30-year-old Yuki, who is now placed outside top-500 in the ATP singles chart, still has to chance to make the singles main draw in case there are withdrawals.
The qualifying event, beginning on December 31 at the Balewadi stadium here, has two wild cards to offer and it being an Indian event, the organisers are expected to award them to the home players. The organisers are also expected to award wild card entries to other top singles players from the country in the singles main draw.
Sasikumar Mukund is the top-ranked Indian at number 342, followed by Prajnesh Gunneswaran (349), Ramkumar Ramanathan (437), Sumit Nagal (506) and Bhambri. It remains to be seen who gets the wild card out of these players.
The last edition's semi-finalist Elias Ymer will also battle it out in the qualifiers along with American Christopher Eubanks and the former World No. 39 Peter Gojowczyk. Tournament Director Prashant Sutar said, "It's always good to see an Indian name in the line-up because that's our main objective of conducting such a big tournament -- to inspire and increase Indian participation."
The qualifiers event will have 16 players fighting for four main draw spots. Sunder Iyer, the AITA joint secretary and MSLTA secretary, said, "Having a strong field always results in highly competitive games and that attracts more fans. Last year Ymer caught many eyeballs with his sensational performance. From being a qualifier he reached the semi-finals."
"This year's line-up looks equally strong and it's going to be an entertaining week for the fans as well as for the upcoming players who will get to watch world's best players live in action." The 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic will lead the field in the main draw along with the last edition's runner-up Emil Ruusuvuori.