Bengaluru, Oct 16: ATP Challenger tennis tournament returns to Bengaluru after 12 years with the Air Asia Open. India's Yuki Bhambri with an ATP ranking of 104 will spearhead the challenge in this $50,000 event, organised by Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA).
There are also 5 other Indians in the main draw and Somdev Devvarman is expected to be one of the strong contenders apart from other Davis Cuppers Saketh Myneni, Sanam Singh, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Vijay Sunder Prashant.
The Air Asia Open starts on Monday, 19 October and the final is slated for Sunday, 25 October 2015. The qualifiers are on October 17 and 18 and will precede the main draw.
Spain's Adrian Menendez-Maceiras will be the No. 2 with a 132 ATP ranking among players from 15 countries. Adrian Menendez-Maceiras and James Ward, the second and third seeds at Bengaluru are part of their respective country's Davis Cup squad for 2015.
A few players who from have entered in the Air Asia Open are currently engaged in a $125,000 event in Uzbekistan and also a $50,000 event in Vietnam.
Speaking at the event press conference on Thursday (October 15), BNS Reddy, Assistant Commissioner of Police and Treasurer, KSLTA, said, "The Air Asia Open offers the Indian players a platform to climb up the international ladder. It will be a well contested tournament with 6 Indians in the main draw and we hope and wish all the players the very best".
The Air Asia Open offers $7,200 (Rs 4,71,00) and 80 ATP points to the winner while the runner-up gets $4,053 ( Rs 2,65,000) and 55 ATP points. The semi-finalists will get $2,216 (Rs 145,000 each) and 33 points, while the quarter-finalists stand to earn $1,267 (Rs 83,000 each) and 17 points.
The first round winner gets $ 760 (Rs 50,000 each) and 8 ATP points while the main draw player gets $444 (Rs 29,000 each) and no points. However, the qualifier for the main draw gets 5 ATP points.
While expressing excitement about Air Asia's association with this event, the Commercial Director of Air Asia India, Gaurav Rathore said, "Sports is a constant vertical that Air Asia has been supporting and is passionate about for a very long time with a single-minded objective of being out there where the action is.
"Tennis is something that is hugely followed in our country and coming on board as the Title Sponsor for ATP gives the entire team at AirAsia India immense pride. Being an airline based in Bangalore, we felt that it was important for us to support a sport like Tennis that is extremely popular in the city."