Chennai, Jan 2 (IANS) With the Aircel Chennai Open hit hard by a spate of retirements and withdrawals, tournament director Tom Annear said such occurrences were beyond the control of the ATP, though there was justifiable concern.
“I am concerned as a tournament director. We work hard to bring the best players in the world. But there is a competitive situation out there with other ATP tournaments. These players have choices with other ATP tournaments taking place.
“As for Chennai Open, we see the strong field this year and see Janko Tispseravic withdrawing and Youzhny pulling out two days ago. Then you see a retiring match like Fognini. You kind of look up and say, that’s sport. It’s totally out of our control,” said Annear at a media interaction here Thursday.
The tournament so far has witnessed four retirements, including two Thursday (Fabio Fognini and Yen-Hsun Lu) apart from the withdrawals of defending champion Tipsarevic and Jurgen Zopp who, incidentally, was replaced by Somdev Devvarman.
Annear was at pains to emphasise the point that the ATP usually was in touch with the players as and when they get to tournaments, if only to ensure they are fit and ready to play, but beyond that there was little that could be done to stop the string of retirements.
“It’s a surprise when any player pulls out. We have some advance information because we work with the ATP tour and the physio. So, we have pretty good indication of status of players before they go on court.
“The tournament office often gets requests to start later. Fognini asked specifically to start later because he knew he had an injury was trying to work through it.
“Youzhny had a stomach virus coming from Thailand. It usually takes a day or two to come out of the system. He tried, but couldn’t (get ready for the match). It’s very unfortunate. He is a great player and a former champion. We wish him well,” said Annear.
The tournament director said there is a process to verify the genuineness of the injury and every player has to follow the procedure.
“There is a medical form, a release form they have to sign. They go to the trainer here in the stadium, he is treated. And if the decision is to withdraw or pull out, he has to go back to the trainer and sign the release form. It’s all documented,” said Annear.