Top tennis players give Nationals a missSeptember 29, 2017
It will be difficult to fault someone like Riya Bhatia, if she opts to compete in the international circuit, instead of defending her national title.
The 20-year-old had won both the national hard-court and grass-court women’s titles last season, and has little to prove at the national level.
Moreover, when she is getting the No.1 seeding in the $15,000 ITF women’s event in Colombo next week, it makes sense for the 531st ranked Riya to try and improve on her status.
The organisers of the Fenesta National championship, who have put an overall prize purse of about ₹21 lakh, will, however, be surprised to see players making a bee line to Colombo instead of competing in Delhi from Monday.
The DCM Shriram Group that has been hosting the event from 1993, long before it was given the National championship status, is offering ₹300,000 each for the men’s and women’s champions with the runners-up getting ₹200,000.
That is about $4584 for the champions and about $3056 for the runners-up. Such money may not be within the reach of most of the Indian players in the international circuit, in which the champions get $2352 and the runners-up $1,470, for an event with a total prize purse of $15,000.
However, the quick reduction of the prize money down the order, with the national semifinalists getting ₹40,000, the quarterfinalists ₹24,000 and the pre-quarterfinalists ₹15,000 seems to be unattractive.
The Colombo event looks irresistible for the Indians.
Dhruthi Venugopal, Natasha Palha, Nidhi Chilumula, Prerna Bhambri, Ramya Natarajan and Rishika Sunkara figure in the direct acceptance list of the Sri Lanka event, apart from Riya.
There may also be about eight Indians figuring in the qualifying draw.
In such a scenario, it will be a great opportunity for players like Y. Pranjala, Zeel Desai, Mahak Jain, Snehadevi Reddy, Mihika Yadav, Bhuvana Kalva etc. to capitalise on the vacuum.