KOLKATA: Former world No. 1 Monica Seles and former French Open champion Mary Pierce will be part of a star-studded line-up for the first ever WTA event in India.Hyderabad will become an international tennis hotspot from February 3-9 as it will host the ninth event of the women’s tour.
The WTA event in Hyderabad will be a Tier IV championship. It means players who are ranked between 60 and 150 will be allowed to participate. Seles and Pierce, although they are ranked several rungs above the Tier IV limit, will participate by virtue of a “gold exempt.”
The event will be organised by Globosport, a company wholly owned by Indian Davis Cup star Mahesh Bhupathi. Confirming that Hyderabad will host the WTA event, Krishna Bhupathi, Mahesh’s father, added: “The tournament will be a $140,000 prize money championship. It will be a great boost for women’s tennis in India.”
The senior Bhupathi said his son was going “all-out” to make the event a big success. “He has been talking to several top stars. Pierce is surely going to come and Seles is almost a certainty.”
Among the other top-ranked women will be Clarisa Fernandez. The Argentina had made the French Open semis before bowing out to Venus Williams. Top Uzbek Iroda Tulyaganova will spearhead the Asian challenge.
There will be three wildcards, of which one is certainly going to go to the talented Sania Mirza.