Mumbai Open: WTA 125K event's future under threat after being skipped in 2019, could drop to ITF level

  • Aryna Sabalenk and Luksika Kumkhum won the two editions of Mumbai Open

  • Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA), the organisers for the event, have expressed inability to hold the event this year

  • WTA tournaments in India have had a short shelf life with events being staged in Kolkata and Hyderabad in the past

In what would come as a blow to tennis fans in India, the future of WTA $125K event in Mumbai looks uncertain. With the women's tour calendar skipping the tournament completely this year, it remains to be seen how it progresses forward or if it can maintain its status as a $125K series event.

 Mumbai Open: WTA 125K events future under threat after being skipped in 2019, could drop to ITF level

Ankita Raina in action during the quarter-finals at the Mumbai Open. Firstpost

The tournament played its first edition in 2017 at the Cricket Club of India thereby making it the first WTA tournament to be held in India in five years. The last women's tour tournament to be played in India was the Royal Indian Open in 2012 in Pune.

Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA), the organisers for the event, have expressed inability to hold the event this year and for the future it may drop to the ITF Women’s Circuit as a $50,000 or $75,000 event. “We are right now not in a position to take this event forward for this year, so we will consider doing it next year,” said Prashant Sutar, Mumbai Open tournament director, to Times of India on Wednesday.

Asked to comment on the future of the event completely, Sutar said: “We will come back. The only thing we are still evaluating is whether to continue with WTA 125k Series or go with $50,000 or $75,000. We will see whatever is best for the Indian players.”

The news would come as a disappointment for Indian women players such as Ankita Raina, Karman Kaur Thandi and Pranjala Yadlapalli who see the tournament as an opportunity to face top players in the world. In the two editions, Mumbai Open has seen the inclusion of rising talent Aryna Sabalenka, Britons Naomi Broady, Laura Robson, Yanina Wickmayer and veteran Sabine Liscki.

In December, Vijay Amritraj had claimed they're trying to get a WTA event to Chennai for 2020 calendar to replicate the tournament the city hosted featuring the men. Chennai Open was later shifted to Pune. “In the early part of 2020, we will try to do a WTA event in Chennai. I have already made the request. We are looking to do a similar kind of event that we did for the men (the ATP 250),” he had said at the time.

“I have already spoken to the WTA, they are very keen to come on board. In terms of money, to conduct the event, it will probably end up costing about half of the ATP event (the Chennai Open)... about Rs 6-7 crore. Talks have also been initiated with the state government,” he added.

There has been no update on the tournament and its viability since.

Updated Date: Aug 22, 2019 16:20:58 IST