Bengaluru: The Bengaluru Open which has now become a coveted stop on the ATP Challenger Tour, returns to the Garden City after skipping the 2019 calendar of events.

The three-month postponement has come as a boon for Bengaluru as, the event, which was usually held every November, which was the fag end of the season, has moved into the new season. The signature event on the ATP Challenger Tour will now be held from February 10-16 at the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA).

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The Bengaluru leg will follow the Pune ATP 250, an ATP Tour event, and the Australian Open, thereby ensuring the participation of some of the top players. The Bengaluru Open which boasts of a prize money of US$ 162,000 is the richest on the ATP Challenger circuit in terms of prize money played across the globe.

The Bengaluru Open, has been receiving a major support from the government of Karnataka along with the help of corporate sponsors, who, together have helped event grow in stature with each passing season. It has established itself as a perfect platform for National and International players, as well as aspiring local players, to compete at an International Challenger stage, and improve their ATP rankings, and compete at Grand Slams.

“The Bengaluru Open is now the biggest event on the ATP Challenger circuit in the Asian region and it was a proud moment for all of us when the winners of the previous editions played at the main draw of the US Open against legends like Roger Federer and Daniil Medvedev. This shows we have enough talent that can be nurtured through tournaments like Bengaluru Open,” said Priyank Kharge who is the chairman of the organising committee and brainchild behind the Bengaluru Open.

“We have had the backing of the Government of Karnataka all these years and we are hopeful of getting the support this year too. The encouraging part is coming together of stake holders of Bengaluru which involves major corporates to support the event. We hope to have a bigger support from the corporate world in this edition,” added Kharge.

KSLTA which is not averse to hosting national and international events will be in the cynosure once again with some of the top players in the under-100 bracket (world rankings) clashing for honours.

Meanwhile, KSLTA will organise a series of events as a build-up to the mega event which will consist of 48 players in the main draw as against 32 in the last edition.

The ATP Challenger Bengaluru Open, apart from making the winner richer by over USD 22,000, will also give a chance to homegrown players to earn valuable ATP points and improve their ranking on the ATP circuit.

Sumit Nagal (pictured), a winner here in the 2017 edition is the best example of a player who has exploited the opportunity to the maximum. His famed first set victory against the legendary Roger Federer in the US Open before bowing to the World Champion earlier this year, cannot be forgotten in a hurry.

“It was the Bengaluru Open victory which boosted my morale and gave me the confidence to tread on to bigger Tours,” said Nagal in a telephonic interaction.

“It was a dream come true when I played Federer at the US Open. I would not have reached that stage that easily had I not played the Challenger circuit,” added Nagal emphasising the need of many more such tournaments in the country.