Chennai: India's top tennis players Mahesh Bhupathi, Saketh Myneni, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Sriram Balaji have been granted wild card entries into the doubles draw of Chennai Open, organisers said on Monday.
Other than offering fans an opportunity to watch top Indian players, the 20th edition of the event will present an exceptional assembly of talent that includes four top-25 players and three 2014 ATP World Tour Award winners.
The organizers announced earlier that ace Indian players Somdev Devvarman and Ramkumar Ramanathan have been granted singles wild card entries. India's top doubles specialist Mahesh Bhupathi will partner 27-year-old Saketh Myneni for the first time at the Aircel Chennai Open. It will mark Bhupathi's return to courts after March 2014, when he played in the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami with Kevin Anderson.
Bhupathi, who has won a staggering 52 career doubles titles, will look at the event as a platform to kick-start the new year on a winning note. He had partner Leander Paes to win the 2011 Chennai Open title.
Saketh attained a career high doubles ranking of World No.154 last month. He made his Indian Davis Cup debut at the 2014 Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I Tie with Chinese Taipei, where he partnered Rohan Bopanna in the doubles.
Myneni won gold and silver medals at Incheon Asian Games 2014 in mixed doubles and men's doubles, where he partnered with Sania Mirza and Sanam Singh respectively. Balaji and Nedunchezhiyan from Tamil Nadu receive support from TNTA and are coming together for the third time to play doubles at the Chennai Open.
Balaji, who achieved a career high doubles ranking of Word No.211 this year made his ATP main draw debut at the 2012 Chennai Open in the doubles event, partnering Nedunchezhiyan.
The wildcard pairing put up a good fight, but lost to the second seeds Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram. Nedunchezhiyan also achieved a career high singles & doubles ranking of 293 & 242 respectively this year, and continues to participate in tournaments around the world.
Karti P Chidambaram, chairman, tournament organising committee, Chennai Open and Vice President, Tamil Nadu Tennis Association said, "We are glad to grant wild cards to the prolific Mahesh Bhupathi and also to young players Saketh, Balaji and Nedunchezhiyan who have been playing impressively this year in India and abroad.
"The players will empower the Indian contingent in the doubles draw of the tournament's 20th edition and I'm sure fans will be thrilled to hear the news. We are happy to have an impressive gathering of good Indian talent and are hopeful they will do very well."
Chennai Open will witness some of world's most exciting names in tennis converging in India, including World No. 4 and Defending singles Champion Stan Wawrinka, World No. 14 Feliciano Lopez and World No. 15 Roberto Bautista Agut, and World No. 22 David Goffin.
Other leading players who will add excitement to the event include Spaniards Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Marcel Granollers, Luxembourg's Gilles Muller, Chinese Taipei's Yen-Hsun Lu and 2014 finalist Edouard Roger-Vasselin.