The breach in bio-bubble of the Indian team at the Asian Cup football event has put the organisers of the Tata Open Maharashtra under pressure but they are determined to pull off the ATP tournament, set to begin in Pune from January 31. The Indian women's team was forced out of the prestigious football tournament, being held in Maharashtra as the COVID-19 hit team could not field the required players on the field against Chinese Taipei.
"These are tough times but we will make it happen. Our event is also happening in the same state. We have substantially cut down the workforce as well," Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) secretary Sunder Iyer said during a virtual interaction. "Even we won't have the ball kids this time since they can't fulfil the condition of double-vaccination.We will have ball-men this year.
"The players' can't have food inside the stadium, they have to go back to their hotel. We are not even taking the players on the road for travel, they will enter the stadium from the backdoor of the adjacent hotel wall.
"We are doing everything that can be done to make it happen smoothly," said Iyer, who is also AITA Joint Secretary. The MSLTA official said this year 250 odd people will work inside the stadium while the number was above 400 in the last edition. Iyer said they will try to have both fans and media inside the stadium over the weekend.
By that time only 20 players will be left in the tournament and there should be space to accommodate a few. "Once the tournament happens, it will be a statement that we can do it under such tough circumstances. Everyone has to undergo RAT every day and once somone leaves a bio-bubble, he won't be allowed back until he returns a negative RTPCR report," he said.