Dharwad: The DDLTA Rajadhyaksha Pavilion in Dharwad echoed with the spirit of sportsmanship as the much-anticipated ITF Men's World Tennis Tournament was inaugurated on Tuesday.
Labour Minister Santosh Lad, the Minister in charge of Dharwad, and former captain of the Indian Cricket Team, Mohammed Azaruddin, officially launched the $25,000 prize money Men's tournament by releasing balloons and engaging in a friendly game of tennis.
Expressing his enthusiasm, Azaruddin said his enthusiasm at being part of an event beyond the realm of cricket, emphasizing the need for widespread support for various sports worldwide. He further expressed his aspiration for Dharwad to host a Women's Tennis Tournament soon.
Stressing the participation of international players in the tournament, he underscored its potential to familiarize them with the local environment.
During his inaugural address, Minister Lad expressed pride in having Mohammad Azharuddin, a cricket icon, at the inaugural event.
He lauded Deputy Commissioner Gurudatta Hegde, who also serves as the President of the District Tennis Association, for his dedicated efforts in organizing the tournament.
Minister Lad highlighted the tennis court's evolution since its establishment in 1937 and recommended introducing five solar-powered green courts.
He also stressed that this tournament has elevated the recognition of North Karnataka on a wider platform. The Minister expressed his hope for more high-profile matches to be hosted in Dharwad in the future.
In recognition of his presence, Mohammad Azharuddin was presented with the local delicacy, Dharwad Peda.
Deputy Commissioner Gurudatta Hegde announced that after a hiatus of 17 years, Dharwad was once again the host city for an International Tennis Tournament.
He said 45 players from 12 countries would participate in the event, with the final doubles scheduled for Oct 21 and singles on Oct 22.
The tournament is set to feature renowned Indian Davis Cup Players Digvijay Pratap Singh and Ramkumar Ramanathan, promising an exciting showcase of tennis talent.