With top players from the world, including World No. 15 Aslan Karatsev, ace Indian player Rohan Bopanna and Italian rising star Lorenzo Musetti among others, headlining the field, 2022 Tata Open Maharashtra, organised by the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association, is all set to kick off on Monday at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune.
The tournament will see four Indians, Yuki Bhambri, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Arjun Kadhe, starting in the singles main draw.
As the main draw begins in a week-long tournament which will go on till February 6, showcasing the world-class exciting tennis action for the fans, let's take a look at five Indian stars to look out for in the much-awaited fourth edition of South Asia's only ATP Tour tournament, which is owned by IMG and operated by RISE Worldwide in India.
A name that needs no introduction to Indian tennis enthusiasts or sports fans in general. Ace doubles player Rohan Bopanna is one of the popular names at the tournament and will definitely start as a strong contender for the doubles title, partnering with Ramkumar Ramanathan.
He has two titles to his name at the country's one of oldest sporting events, with first one coming in Chennai in 2017 playing with Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and second at the 2019 edition in Pune while with Divij Sharan.
The seasoned campaigner, has a staggering career in doubles. Apart from winning Asian Games gold, he also had a runner-up finish at the 2010 US Open. The former world number three had twice reached the men's doubles semi-finals at the Wimbledon.
Bopanna kicked off the 2022 with a title in Adelaide earlier this month and will look to add a second ATP title of the year to his name. The second-seeded pair of Bopanna and Ramkumar will begin their campaign against American duo of Nicholas Monroe and Jamie Cerretani.
Making a comeback after 2018, the star Indian singles player Yuki Bhambri will be eager to make his mark at Tata Open Maharashtra. During his last appearance, he was one of the two Indians to finish in the pre-quarterfinals and also reached semi-finals in the doubles, playing alongside Divij Sharan.
The 29-year-old recently returned to the international circuit after recovering from an injury which kept him away from the sport for two years. The former junior world number one played at the Australian Open qualifiers earlier this month and now, after securing direct entry into the singles main draw at Tata Open Maharashtra, he will start his challenge on Monday against Slovak player Josef Kovalik.
The Delhi-born player won his first ATP Challengers title in 2012 and added third in 2014. Meanwhile he also made his Davis Cup debut and broke into the Top-100 in the world rankings. In 2018, he achieved his career-best ranking of 83. Bhambri won two bronze medals for the country at the 2014 Asian Games—in singles and doubles, playing with Divij Sharan.
The dashing player had a decorated career in the junior circuit. He was the first Indian junior to win Australian Open as well as fourth Indian in history to capture a junior singles Grand Slam title. His junior career milestones also include him achieving No. 1 world ranking as well as clinching a singles silver medal for the country at 2010 Youth Olympics.
Indian top-ranked player Ramkumar Ramanathan will be returning to Pune making his fourth appearance at the Tata Open Maharashtra. A wildcard entrant in singles, Ramkumar will also feature in doubles as he secured direct entry, teaming up with Rohan Bopanna.
The 27-year-old from Chennai had a memorable end to 2021 as he clinched his maiden singles title in Manama, Bahrain and also won doubles title at the Adelaide International with Bopanna earlier this year.
Ramkumar made the headlines in 2017 when he sent packing then World No. 8 Dominic Theim in the first round at the Antalya Open and made progress till quarterfinals. It was his first match against a Top-10 player.
A regular face at one of India's oldest sporting events, Ramkumar will kickstart his singles challenge at fourth edition of Tata Open Maharashtra today against Italy's Stefano Travaglia.
Arjun Khade is one of the popular names at the Tata Open Maharashtra. Local boy will be making his fourth appearance at the prestigious tournament. The 2020 national champion has won two ITF Futures singles titles and seven ITF Futures doubles titles.
In the last edition of the tournament the 28-year-old went down fighting against Jiri Vesely, who went onto clinch the title.
Graduated from Oklahoma State University where he saw early success in his junior tennis career including top spot in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Rankings alongside Julian Cash, becoming the first pair in the history of Oklahoma to do so.
Having made his ATP singles as well as doubles debut at Tata Open Maharashtra in 2018, Kadhe, who entered the tournament as a wildcard, will start his campaign in the singles against Joao Sousa of Portugal and will also be seen in doubles alongside Purav Raja.
5. Prajnesh Gunneswaran
Prajnesh Gunneswaran has returned to Pune for his fourth appearance at the Tata Open Maharashtra 2022. The only Indian to reach pre-quarters in the last edition, Prajnesh will begin his challenge in the singles main draw on Monday against Germany's Daniel Altmaier.
The 32-year-old from Chennai had a breakthrough year in 2019 wherein he broke into Top-100, claiming career-best rankings of 75 and also earned his first Grand Slam main draw appearance at the Wimbledon.
Prajnesh has eight ITF singles titles to his name. He has also represented India at the Davis Cup. In 2018 he bagged two ATP Challenger titles while appearing in the final on four occasions. His first title came at the Kunming Open while second at the Bengaluru Open when he defeated Saketh Myneni in an all-Indian final.