Chennai Open, South Asia's only Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tournament, has been held in Chennai on the first week of January every year since 1997. Previously, the tournament was named as Gold Flake Open and TATA Open, after the main sponsors. In 2004, when the three-year association with Tata ended, the possibility of Chennai losing out on hosting the tournament loomed large, as there wasn't a title sponsor. However, with the Tamil Nadu government deciding to co-sponsor the event, along with a consortium of corporate houses, the tournament successfully managed to survive in Chennai.
Chennai Open, played at the hard-court SDAT-Nungambakkam Tennis Stadium, has attracted some of the top players of the ATP circuit in the recent years. The tournament mainly comprises of two events - the Men's Singles and the Men's Doubles and carries total prize money worth of $450,000. The 2006 edition was held from January 2-8 and saw the participation World No. 9 Ivan Ljubicic, former World No. 1 and defending champion Carlos Moya, Asia No 1 Paradorn Srichaphan. In the title clash Ljubicic defeated Moya 7-6, 6-2 to emerge the winner.
India In Chennai Open
The performance by Indian tennis players in the Men's Double of Chennai Open have been great, right from the time the tournament started. Indian players first recorded a victory in Chennai Open in 1997, a year after the tournament made its inception in India. The dynamic duo of Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes played magnificently beating their contemporaries, Oleg Ogorodov of Uzbekistan and Eyal Ran of Israel by scoring 76, 75. in the following year, the duo struck gold again, this time against Olivier Delaitre of France and Max Mirnyi of Belarus with a score of 67, 63, 62. The twosome, Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes, complemented each other superbly.
In the 1999 edition of Chennai Open, the twosome made a hattrick clinching a magnificent victory against Wayne Black of Zimbabwe and Neville Godwin of South Africa with a score of 46, 75, 64. In the following edition (2000), Saurav Panja and Prahlad Srinath secured the runner-up position and scored 75, 61. However, in the 2002 edition of the game, the famous Indian duo was back again and successfully defeated their counterparts from Czech Republic Tomas Cibulec and Ota Fukarek with the score of 57, 62, 75. After a lull period of four years, India again managed a runner-up position in the tournament in 2006, with the pairing of Prakash Amritraj and Rohan Bopanna.
Ever since the inception of the game on 1996, the performance by an Indian player in the Men's Single in Chennai Open has not been an outstanding one. This is one of the prime reasons that the title of being a winner or a runner-up was not earned by an Indian tennis player. However, things changed in the 2009 edition of Chennai Open when Somdev Devvarman clinched the runners-up position with a score of 64, 76(3).