Indo Asian News Service
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) said on Saturday that it is hoping to launch domestic tournaments starting with state level tournaments from July 2020 provided the ongoing country-wide lockdown is lifted in the next two months.
“AITA proposes to start tournaments for all age groups,” said the association in a statement signed by secretary general Hironmoy Chatterjee.
“These will initially (in July and August) be restricted to state level tournaments keeping in mind the need for restricting travel. It shall subsequently graduate into Zonal and National tournaments in September, October and November once travel restrictions and social distancing norms are further eased.”
AITA said that it is “setting up a sizable fund out of its reserves to create a domestic circuit.”
“The AITA is also approaching the Government of India, Ministry of Sports & Youth Affairs to allow it to utilise the unused portion of its ACTC (Annual Competition and Tournament Calendar) Budget 2019/20 which was earmarked for Tournaments and Foreign Exposure up to September 2020,” it said.
“AITA shall also be launching a fresh initiative to approach coroporates to contribute to this fund that will be used for creating tournaments and competition opportunities for Indian players during the upcoming months while the Pro and ITF circuits stay closed.”
The freezing of the tennis calendar due to the coronavirus pandemic has put the careers of a number of players at risk whose income depends on the prize money they get from playing matches and tournaments. Former players such as Mahesh Bhupathi and Vijay Amritraj have pointed out that most players in the world tour, including Indian players, could face dire consequences due to the freeze.
The AITA said that its plan to launch the domestic circuit aims at mitigating the financial problems that players are facing.
“The circuit will be aimed at benefiting our tennis players across the country since the pandemic has adversely affected their livelihood as well as their overall training and preparedness and shall have the objective of them being sharp, fit, competitive and match ready without any major financial burden,” said the AITA.
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