Mumbai, Oct 19 (IANS) Top Indian tennis players Yuki Bhambri, Somdev Devvarman, Saketh Myneni, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Sanam Singh and Junior Wimbledon doubles champion Sumit Nagal will spearhead the Indian charge at the ATP Challenger, to be played at the Shiv Chhatrapati Mahalunge Balewadi Tennis Complex from October 24 to 31. The event, offering prize money of $50,000, is being jointly organised by the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) and the Pune Metropolitan District Tennis Association (PMDTA) in collaboration with the Maharashtra directorate of sports and youth services. 

The tournament will be sponsored by Pune-based technology firm KPIT. The organizers also announced the names of the players who have been awarded the four wildcards for the main draw. They include Nagal, Vishnu Vardhan, Balaji and Aryan Goveas from Maharashtra. Top players and Davis Cuppers from 25 countries including James Ward, who is in the British team for the 2015 Davis Cup final, Yanick Mertens, who is a member of the Belgian Davis Cup team for the final, former World No.65 Evegeny Donskoy of Russia, Spaniard Adrian Menendez-Maceiras are some of the other players who have confirmed their participation. 

MSLTA president Bharat Oza said the purpose of holding this event is to provide an opportunity to Indian players to participate in a major tournament. “By conducting such higher ranking tournaments we can give wild cards to Indian players. This was our Indian players get direct entry into the main draw,” he said here on Monday. “It will also be a great opportunity for Indian players to pick up valuable ATP points. If players like Yuki and Somdev do well here they can improve their rankings and start the New Year on a high,” said Oza, who is also secretary of the All India Tennis Association. The qualifying rounds will be played on October 24 and October 25 while the main draw of the event will get underway from October 26.

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