The Tata Open Maharashtra, country's only ATP 250 event, will be held before empty stadiums and within a strict bio-bubble, the organisers said on Saturday. The tennis tournament is scheduled to begin at Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune from January 31.
It will be first time that the fans will not be allowed to watch matches from the venue with the third wave of coronavirus pandemic forcing the government and the organisers to have the tournament behind closed doors. "We are following the state government's guidelines. Fans are not allowed inside the venue this year. Players' health is paramount. At least we have our tournament going on with the help of the government," Sunder Iyer, MSLTA Secretary said.
"Even the AFC Cup is following the same guidelines." Iyer informed that media people will be allowed to cover the event from the venue but those, who will be outside the bubble, will have to under RT-PCR test everyday at the venue.
"Those media people who will be inside the bio-bubble, will have to take Rapid antigen test (RAT) but those moving outside the bubble will have to take RT-PCR test everyday. That's the rule," he said.
Russian world number 20 Aslan Karatsev will be the highest-ranked player at the tournament while India will be represented by Yuki Bhambri. Ramkumar Ramanathan is also expected to get a wild card entry.