Chennai,Jan 6 (): Chennai Open, the only ATF event in India, next year will not see Leander Paes and Somdev Devvarman participate, if Karti Chidambaram continues to be the organiser. The tennis matches this year saw poor crowds. The entire week including the weekend saw half-empty stands.
On Saturday Yuki Bhambri and Ramkumar Ramanathan, both from India were playing singles. On Friday, Leander Paes who was booked for a flight to Sydney had to miss it as the hotel insisted that he clear the bill of Rs one lakh and sixteen thousand. The tennis star stuck to the stance that the host-Tamil Nadu Tennis Association had agreed to pick up the bill. The Indian tennis legend claims that he was orally assured that the expense would be borne by the organisers.
Karti Chidambaram,Tamil Nadu Tennis Association vice-president, organizer of Chennai Open said that the contract with Paes was for Rs 6.2 lakh as appearance fee and there was no mention of paying for the rooms. Paes with no document to prove his claim felt hurt and said it was a slight. The player left saying that he will not be returning to Chennai Open again if Karti Chidambaram was running the show.
Paes was quoted as saying that the disrespect shown to him was unwarranted. He said he has more than earned the right to be treated with respect for his achievements over the years. He felt that an Indian sports association should treat its own players with respect and that the money was not just the issue.
Paes appearance fee for Chennai open has been reduced to Rs 6 lakh from Rs 10 lakh last year and he was being clubbed with the Indian players, ignoring his steady top-10 doubles standing. Earlier, Paes was paid around $60,000 (Rs 37 lakh) as appearance fee by the organizers of Chennai Open.
Somdev Devvarman, India’s No 1 player was angry since he was denied a doubles wild card. Somdev and Karti got into a heated argument and both sides were said to be casting aspersions on each other. Chennai Open paid Devvarman Rs 8 lakh as appearance money which he will not get for any other event.
Somdev’s relationship with Karti got him this amount for Chennai Open. But now, Devvarman’s relationship with Karti Chidambaram has become strained. Somadev was defeated by qualifier Ramkumar Ramanathan.
Chennai Open doubles wildcard went to two players from Tamil Nadu -Sriram Balaji and Ramanathan. The packed finals saw Stanislas Wawrinka ranked world No 8 win the Chennai Open.