Kolkata, Dec 14 (UNI) In the absence of the big guns, Karan Rastogi and Rushmi Chakravorthi will be top seeds in this year's National Grass courts Championships with a purse of Rs 4.5 lakhs to be played at the South Club from December 15 to 22.
The main draw of the singles will be of 32, while the doubles will be of 16. While there will be 20 direct entries in the singles, there will be four wild cards and eight qualifiers making up the team of 32.
While the national grasscourts will miss out on the top two Indians in the men's section in Rohan Bopanna and Prakash Amritraj, the women's section will miss out Sania Mirza, Sunitha Rao, Shika Uberoi and Tara Iyer, the top four ladies.
''The top players are not coming, but this leaves the younger and talented pool of players from the country with a chance to make it to the top level. We have some very talented players in both the sections,'' South club president Rajat Majumdar said.
This gives Karan, ranked three in the country the top seed, as does Rushmi, ranked five in the county.
The men have a lot at stake at the championships. While the winner gets an entry to the Chennai Open, he also stands a chance of making it to the Davis Cup squad against Uzbekistan to be played in Delhi this February. If India wins that round, Davis Cup will be traveling to South Club yet again when India take on Japan.
The field is also quiet strong with Asutosh Singh seeded second.
Asutosh besides winning the hard court nationals in Delhi, is also a part of the Asia cup team that recently played in Bangkok.
The wild cards in the men's section are Harsh Mankad, Sayed Fazaluddin, Manoj Kumar Sewa and Saif Ali, while that of women's are Mohana Sarkar, Richa Valecha, Dipti Srivastava and Rohini Das.
The All India Tennis Association took the opportunity to hand over Rs two lakh to local girl Shivika Burman to pursue her tennis career abroad.
Top 8 seeds:- Men: Karan Rastogi, Asutosh Singh, Aditya Madkekar, Divij Sharan, Vivek Shokeen, J Vishnu Vardhan, Vinodh Sridhar and P.Prajnesh Guneshwaran.
Women: Rushmi Chakrovorthi, Sonal Phadke, Parul Goswami, Sweta Kumari Solanki, Ragini Vimal, Rashmi Teltumbde, J Kesika and Anukriti Prasad.