The event is not only an effort for all the Tata companies to put up a join face but is also an endeavour to reach out to the youngsters and promote sports, especially tennis, says Romit Chaterji, vice-president (Corporate Affairs), Tata Services Ltd. We have been concentrating on reaching out to the youngsters by promoting specific sports such as formula racing (Narayan Karthikeyan) and tennis, he adds.
In fact, ever since the company became the title sponsor in 2001 of the annual tennis event being held in Chennai, it has been involved in coaching programmes of aspiring tennis players. We have been working with the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association in organising coaching programmes in the past one year, says Mr Chaterji. Nearly about Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh are being spent for this purpose, he adds. So far, nearly 30 to 40 young players have been trained under the expert eyes of Anand Amritraj, he informs.
On being asked if such programmes could spread to other metros, Mr Chaterji nods in affirmative. As of now there are no concrete plans or agreements with other state associations though we are open to the idea, he adds.
The group is aiming to utilise this years championships as another opportunity to strengthen its relationship with youngsters. We have chosen youth oriented TV channels to advertise the tournament, says Mr Chaterji. With youngsters such as Prakash and Steven Amritraj playing, it should serve as an inspiring factor for other youths of India, he adds.
The tournament will have special attraction in the form of Thai sensation Paradorn Srichaphan (losing finalist last year, who after his loss at last years finals has zoomed up the ratings and is currently at No 16 in the world). Aussie Mark Philippoussis and defending champion Guilermo Canas of Argentina are the other major attractions apart from Indias own Mahesh Bhupathi, who would be playing with Tood Woodbridge in doubles. The winner of the tournament will take home $ 54,000 with 35 ATP points in the singles while doubles winner will pocket $ 26,550. On the groups association with formula driver Narayan Karthikeyan, Mr Chaterji says: We are helping him to drive, to be on track in such an expensive sport. But he refuses to disclose the exact figure the company has so far spent on the young driver. What is important is that we are promoting promising youngsters, he says.