India national tennis champs called off due to COVID-19

The 2020 edition of the Fenesta National Tennis Championships was scheduled to be held in October in New Delhi.

By Naveen Peter

The 2020 edition of the Fenesta National Tennis Championships, scheduled to be held in October, has been postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

The annual event held at the RK Khanna Tennis Stadium in Delhi has often attracted some of the brightest upcoming talents in the country and has acted as a springboard for a number of tennis careers in India.

However, with the lockdowns and restrictions on inter-state travel still in force, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) has been forced to push the event to a further date.

The RK Khanna Tennis Stadium has often attracted some of India’s brightest upcoming talents.

“In the current scenario, players travelling from across the country and staying in guest houses, hotels might not be advisable,” organising secretary of the event, Aman Pannu was quoted as saying by Sportstar.

“Keeping this in mind we have decided to postpone the championship till we are sure about the situation,” she added.

The organisers were monitoring the developments since March and were keen on going ahead with the event on its scheduled date. However, with the pandemic barely showing any signs of slowing down, they were forced to look for an alternative window keeping in mind the ‘safety of the players and travel possibilities.’

The 2019 edition of the National Championships saw two of the brightest talents in the domestic circuit Niki Poonacha and Sowjanya Bavisetti take home the men’s and women’s titles, respectively.

Niki Poonacha, who trains at the Rohan Bopanna Tennis Academy in Bengaluru, came up with some smart tennis to outslug Aryan Goveas 6-2, 7-6 (4) in the men’s final.

“It was a dream for me,” Poonacha said after he was handed the trophy by Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza

“Most of India’s star players have won it. To be in that list is very motivating and inspiring for me," Poonacha said.

Other notable past winners of the Fenesta National Tennis Championships have been London 2012 Olympian Vishnu Vardhan, 2010 Youth Olympic Games silver medallist Yuki Bhambri, and Davis Cuppers Sriram Balaji, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Purav Raja among others.

Meanwhile, in the women’s final, Sowjanya Bavisetti beat the four-time national champion and seasoned pro Ankita Bhambri 6-4, 6-2. Ankita Bhambri is also the current non-playing captain of the Fed Cup.

Rutuja Bhosale, who helped chart wins in the Fed Cup earlier this year, too has won the tournament in 2016.