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At the Pune ATP event, which has been moved back into the pre-Aussie Open slot, Marin Cilic leads a strong field

The 2014 Indian Open doubles champion will lead a group of 14 players ranked in the top 100 at this hardcourt event.

India has been associated with Marin Cilic ever since he won back-to-back ATP 250 titles in Chennai in 2009 and 2010. Despite this, the 2014 US Open director hasn’t been to India in five years. The reorganization of the tennis calendar for the pitstop on the ATP Tour in India was one of the reasons why the tournament was moved to Pune rather than Chennai.

The Croatian tennis player is currently competing in India after reaching the ATP Tata Open Maharashtra semi-finals in 2018.

The 34-year-old player is in the top draw of the ATP 250 tournament in Pune, which starts on Monday at the Balewadi Sports Complex. The world number one leads the 28-player field, which includes six players ranked in the top 50 and 14 in the top 100. 17. American Rajeev Slam and English Joe Salisbury oversee the pairs area. In 2022, they finished third and fourth in the doubles rankings, respectively, after winning the ATP Finals and the US Open.

This is a fairly strong field, just like when Carlos Moya, Ivan Ljubicic, Marin Cilic, Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic, and Kevin Anderson chose India to begin the new season and prepare for the Australian Open in January.

For a few years, Tata Open Maharashtra lost that selling point. The events in 2020 and 2022—the event in 2021 was postponed due to the pandemic—were held in late January and early February, immediately following the Australian Open, when the majority of the best players either take a break or look for new opportunities. The event in 2021 was postponed due to the pandemic. The occasion in 2021 was delayed because of the pandemic. The draw featured notable names such as Benoit Paire (2020), Aslan Karatsev, and Lorenzo Musetti (both 2022), but it lacked the depth of this edition.

Last year’s favorite, Russian Karatsev, is cultivated eighth this time. Botic van de Zandschulp, a Dutchman who lost in the quarterfinals of the 2021 US Open to eventual champion Daniil Medvedev, is ranked 35th higher than him. The third-seeded and 40th-ranked Finn for the 2022 Tata Open is Emil Ruusuvuori. Sebastian Baez, a 22-year-old Argentine who was regarded as the junior No. 1, in addition to the No. 1, won his most illustrious ATP championship in 2022 in Estoril. One of the unseeded players to keep an eye on is Dutchman Tim van Rijthoven, who is 25 years old and is ranked 111. Alex Molcan is 50 years old and hails from Slovakia. In the ‘s-Hertogenbosch final, the current world number 205 defeated top-ranked Medvedev to become the lowest-ranked tour-level winner of 2022. This was one of the most unexpected victories of the era. He then defeated Novak Djokovic, a potential boss, in the Wimbledon fourth round.

“We have a very strong field this time, perhaps one of the best this event has seen,” stated Prashant Sutar, the tournament director. The competition’s move back to the principal seven day stretch of January is very fulfilling for us as coordinators on account of the presence of greater names and seriously interesting contest.

Speaking of exciting, Manas Dhamne’s center court case against Riyadh-born American Michael Mmoh will start on Monday. They are both 15 years old. The third and final wild card will give the bright Indian prospect, who has only played in one ATP Challenger match, a significant boost. The junior champion of the ITF Asia/Oceania in 2022 should have a good time competing in his hometown against the best player in the world. 113.

At the other end of the wild card spectrum are Sumit Nagal and Mukund Sasikumar, both 25 years old and at distinct career junctures. Mukund, the India singles No. Nagal will expect a superior beginning to 2023 after a season wherein he battled with recovery and getting back from hip medical procedure. Nagal, who is currently ranked 340, will attempt to climb the pro ladder. In the first round, Mukund will take on Italian qualifier Flavio Cobolli, and Nagal will take on Serbian Filip Krajinovic, who is ranked 54th.

In spite of holding the top Indian tag for a critical part of the past season, Ramkumar Ramanathan has since dropped to 435 in the rankings. However, as his victory over the No. 1 qualifier in Pune this past weekend demonstrated, 1 Mattia Bellucci and Otto Virtanen, with scores of 153 and 175)—those rankings rarely match his game’s potential. Ramkumar is qualified to face Pedro Martinez, the 62nd-ranked Spaniard.

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