As ATP Tennis Tournament Ends, Organiser Sundar Iyer Talks About Its Significance For India,Teams Challenges

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As ATP Tennis Tournament Ends, Organiser Sundar Iyer Talks About Its Significance For India,Team's Challenges

The Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA), in association with the Government of Maharashtra, had organised the ATP Super 250 Tata Open Maharashtra Championship, which saw nearly 70 participants from 30 countries.

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The fourth edition of South Asia's only ATP Tour Tennis Tournament took the stage from January 31 until February 6. Continuing the legacy of ATP, the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) had decided to host the event in India, in association with the Government of Maharashtra.

The ATP Super 250 Tata Open Maharashtra Championship saw nearly 70 participants from 30 countries showcasing their skills.

Sports Stars Participating

Several tennis stars, including India's Yuki Bhambri, Russia's Aslan Karatsev, Italy's Lorenzo Musetti, Jiri Vesely (Czech Republic), Kamil Majchrzak (Poland), etc., participated in the event.

Sports & COVID

Like all sectors, sports also took a massive hit after the coronavirus outbreak. The industry is a major contributor to economic and social development. The cancellations and postponement of events adversely affected the players, coaches, and others involved. They had no source of income for nearly one and a half years.

Professional athletes have been under pressure to reschedule their training while staying fit at home. They also risk losing professional sponsors who may not support them as initially agreed.

Organising Sports Events In These Times

There's nothing like a sports competition to bring everyone together for a good cause, and it energises the participants, and the pleasures are inexpressible.

But for planners, organising the event is a whole different ball game, with unique considerations and tricky logistics that can get a little out of hand. How a team organises the event has to do with the purpose of hosting it.

From sourcing a venue and enlisting a suitable number of volunteers to arrange all-weather preparations and day-of logistics, especially in the COVID times, a lot goes into putting together a successful event.

ATP Tournament- Behind The Scenes

Speaking to The Logical Indian, MSLTA Secretary and Technician Director of TATA Open Maharashtra, Sundar Iyer detailed the challenges they faced in organising the event at an unprecedented time and their strategical approach towards making it a success.

Iyer said that the postponement of sports majorly affected the players. "For more than a year, there was no event for our players. I can say India has lost at least one generation of sportspersons, and many lost opportunities to participate in their age group's events. For example, if the player is 16-years-old and plays as a junior for two years, then moves to the senior category. But in this condition, the 16-year-old lost his junior chances."

ATP's Significance For India

An international tournament like ATP is a big move for India, Iyer says. Many approvals and sanctions are required for one event from the international and national federation, clearances from the government entities, and so forth.

Luckily, the MSLTA was able to overcome the challenges and hold the prestigious event in the country. The organisers adhered to the mandate provided by the government.

Mandates

The event witnessed zero audience participation in view of COVID-19. Other conditions were that the participants had to be double vaccinated; the organisers were asked to follow a daily testing protocol, RT-PCR tests, etc.

The MSLTA also cut down on the number of people working in various sectors of the tournament to about 100-130. Generally, there would be nearly 300 people helping to bring together the event, including housekeeping, security, logistics team, and so forth.

Even the volunteers were less in numbers, from 55-60 to 18-19 people in the team. To safeguard the health of athletes and others, the authorities also created a Bio-Bubble and held the event at a centralised site. This was also one of the conditions laid by the state government.

"The players are staying in a particular hotel; we are settled in another; there is transportation available for the players to pick and drop them to the venue. They are restricted to going outside of the premises. From field to the hotel room, that's their regime. A different hotel is dedicated to the balls men, the linesmen, etc. Everybody working in the vicinity, near and around the players, who are in direct contact with each other, are all in the bio-bubble and are regularly tested," Iyer detailed.

Financial Support Of A Sports Events

Not only players and coaches but people associated with other departments such as sporting services industries, transportation, catering, etc., also faced economic repercussions.

Iyer said they were able to help out those people. The event generated a revenue of about Rs 10 crores in terms of prize money, production, media broadcasting, catering, event management companies, people in security and medical services.

"The sound guys, light guys, carpenters, plumbers, etc., have got work. The sigh of relief these people got was evident from their enthusiasm for work. One of the guys came to me and said that he had barely received Rs 20,000-25,000 in the whole year, but I was able to earn a lakh from this work. This is how one event changed the scenario. I can feel for the whole industry; of my 30 years of experience, this has been one of the toughest times. But we were able to complete it."

Upcoming Events

The authorities are looking forward to organising several significant events, including three Women's ITF events in the coming week in Haryana, Ahmedabad, Gurgaon, Indore, Delhi. There will be tournaments held in Nagpur as well.

"The event has given a positive message to the world about the reopening of the sports events. Not only this, the message that India can successfully host many of them has gone out clearly," Iyer says.

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