India’s biggest ATP event, the Maharashtra Open is set to host Benoit Paire and Ivo Karlovic in early February in the city of Pune.
The ATP 250 event, which was one of the tournaments that opened the new season, was pushed to the first week of February due to the introduction of the ATP Cup which left the opening week of the season crowded.
This move was made to further engage with players returning from Australia to Europe to commence the next leg of the season.
In attendance will be France’s Benoit Paire who is currently ranked at 24 in the world. Last year, Paire began the season at the Maharashtra Open where he reached till the quarterfinals but fell to fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon.
This year, Paire performed well at the Challenger events reaching the finals in Marbella and Marrakech, where he proceeded to win. Paire also won the Lyon Open defeating Taylor Fritz, Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger Aliassime. Paire reached the round of 16 at the French Open as well as at Wimbledon.
Subsequently, he reached the finals of the Winston-Salem Open where he lost to Hubert Hurkacz. Competing against him will be 40-year-old Ivo Karlovic, ranked at 95, who reached the finals of the Maharashtra Open last year where he lost to Kevin Anderson in a three-set match. Anderson will not be defending his title in Pune this year.
Having had at least two top-20 players in their player roster in the past few years, this year is yet to feature one. The 19 entries into the tournament directly were announced but were missing any top-20 players.
However, the group will face stiff competition from each other as players will aim to claim victory here early in the season.
Germany’s Philip Kohlschreiber is set to make his debut at the event. Kohlschreiber is a former Wimbledon quarterfinalist and has defeated Novak Djokovic this year at Indian Wells in the round of 32.
Jiri Vesely, who defeated Alexander Zverev at Wimbledon in the first round, will join the player roster in Pune.
Fans will root for India’s top two players Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Sumit Nagal to bring home the title. Gunneswaran had an impressive year as he became the only Indian to be ranked in the top-100 in the singles ranking this year.
The tournament is sure to be explosive with the participation of such talented players in its 25th edition in the coming year.