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Many players will begin their season in India for the ATP Chennai Open, an ATP World Tour 250 level event currently referred to as the Aircel Chennai Open. The event first took place in Delhi in 1996, when it was known as the McDowell Open. It moved to Chennai, where it has remained ever since, the following year. It hosts a men’s singles and a men’s doubles draw.
The city of Chennai is remarkable in many ways, and offers an array of notable tourist attractions such as the Mahabalipuram, which is a classified UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Kapaleeshwarar Temple and the Vivekanadar Illiam are also places that should be visited in Chennai.
The Valluvar Kottam, just a short walk away from Chennai’s SDAT Tennis Stadium, is another site of interest. The Valluvar Kottam is steeped in history, and was constructed in memory of the poet Tiruvalluvar. Visitors to Chennai will also be drawn towards the Marina Beach, which is a hotspot for tourists. The beach features a number of statues and memorials, and is a popular destination for walkers and joggers.
The ATP Chennai Open has established itself as one of the most exciting events on the tennis calendar, and its popularity is reflected in its remarkable list of past participants. Rafael Nadal has taken part in this event, and so have other tennis greats such as Boris Becker, Carlos Moya, Richard Krajicek, Pat Rafter and Yvgeny Kafelnikov.
Moya and Rafter are amongst the big names to have won the men’s singles title in Chennai. Other famous winners include Thomas Enqvist, Paradorn Srichapan and Byron Black. As yet, there have been no Indian singles champions here, though Somdev Devvarman came painfully close in 2009 when he lost a close two set final against Marin Cilic.
India have fared far better here in doubles competition. The successful pairing of Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes have five ATP Chennai doubles titles to their names. The most recent of these was won in 2011, nine years after their fourth success in 2009.
The tournament is played on a hard court (playpave) surface, not wildly different from the surface used at the Australian Open. Many competitors arrive here with the primary ambition of sharpening their game in time for the first Slam of the season. Many have the additional goal of getting back into match practice or reaping the rewards of off-season training.
In 2012 Milos Raonic topped the pack in Chennai, making the most of his ferocious serve. The Canadian wasn’t broken on serve even once in the space of the week, making him the first player to do so since Roger Federer achieved the same feat in Halle
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