Kolkata: The Bengal Tennis Association (BTA), in its attempt to popularie tennis in the state of West Bengal has come up with a league of its own- the Bengal Premier Tennis League. This, thus becomes the first of its kind and the second major tennis tournament in the City of Joy in 2017 after the AITA Super Series Junior Tennis Tournament, two months back. The tournament will be held between April 18 and 22.
The unveiling of the inaugural edition of the tournament was followed by a press conference in the Bengal Tennis Association (BTA) complex in Salt Lake on Monday. Present were Debopriyo Das (Tournament Committee Member), Sujoy Kumar Ghosh (Tournament Director, BTA), Mihir Mitra (Honorary Secretary, BTA), Amiya Bhattacharyya (Honorary Treasurer, BTA) and Ronny Sarkar (Tournament Committee Member and Head Coach).
While talking to the media, Ghosh said, “We actually took a lot of cues from all the major sporting leagues that take place in the country like the IPL, the Pro Kabaddi League, the Indian Tennis Premier League, etc. Some time back the Maharashtra Lawn Tennis Association successfully hosted a tournament like this and even Bengaluru did something similar. We were planning this for a long time now and we are happy that it has finally been executed.”
And speaking on the response received from the public, he said, “The response we received from the public has been quite good so far. As a matter of fact, we have teams from four districts, where tennis isn’t that popular. I was glad to find out that there are people who would still invest in tennis.” Mitra added, “This is our maiden venture. We require your support for making this tournament successful.”
Speaking of the competition, there are a total of six districts from where six teams- Howrah Hurricanes, Kolkata Crusaders, Midnapore Waves, Malda Slices, Durgapur Warriors and Bankura Horses would participate. There would be 6 men and 2 women players from each team. A total of 48 players, from all over the country would participate in this competition. There would be 15 league matches and a play off along with the all -important final. The categories are – Men’s Singles 1, Men’s Singles 2, Women’s Singles, Men Doubles and Mixed Doubles.
All the matches would be held on the six synthetic courts of the BTA complex in Salt Lake. Renowned Bollywood director and producer Shoojit Sircar, a renowned Bollywood director, who is also a keen follower of tennis would be the brand ambassador of this tournament. Das said, “In the past, there have been many tournaments like this but those haven’t lasted long. We, on our part want to initiate something and carry it on for the coming years to come. I hope this competition turns out to be successful year after year.”
On the players that are taking part, he said, “Top players from all over the country would take part. Players like Nitin Kumar Sinha, the U-14, U-16 and U-18 champion, Vijay Kanan, Saurav Sukul and Sai Samita, who are top players would participate amongst many others.”