Pune: Defending champions Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan will be the pair to watch out at the Tata Open Maharashtra, where as many as five Indians feature in the main draw of the men’s doubles event.
Apart from Rohan-Jeevan duo, other Indians in the fray are last edition’s runners-up pair of Purav Raja and Divij Sharan will play with different partners. While Purav will pair with veteran Leander Paes, his former partner Divij will be playing alongside American Scott Lipsky.
The Tata Open Maharashtra organisers announced the men’s doubles draw for the inaugural edition of the ATP 250 World Tour tournament to be held from December 30 to January 6 at the MSLTA School of Tennis in Balewadi Sports Complex.
The 36-year-old Bopanna, ranked 18 in the world, has won 17 doubles titles so far in his career. The Indian claimed his maiden Grand Slam glory earlier this year after winning the 2017 French Open mixed doubles with Gabriela Dabrowski.
Bopanna and Nedunchezhiyan had formed a lethal combination to edge past Sharan and Raja earlier this year to win the Chennai Open title.
Until this victory, Nedunchezhiyan had won just three doubles Challengers titles over the last two years. The duo will look to script similar success story in this edition too.
Sharan has had a fairly good run this year with his third title coming in the form of ATP European Open, which he won with his American partner Lipsky.
The Paes-Raja pairing also has been consistent together, bagging two ATP Challengers titles recently in Knoxville and then Champaign, Illinois.
“It is an interesting mix of field in the men’s doubles category at the Tata Open Maharashtra. We have stalwarts like Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna who only seem to be getting better and better by each passing year. Sharan, Raja and Jeevan (Nedunchezhiyan) form a strong field of Indians at the event.
“In fact, we have Vishnu Vardhan and Sriram Balaji as alternates and if they make it, the field will have seven players from India. This bodes well for Indian tennis and the fans too,” said tournament director Prashant Sutar.