Chennai, Nov 22 (IANS) While India's best bet Somdev Devvarman has yet again been given a wild card entry, World No.6 Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic is the top seed for the 2013 $430,000 Aircel ATP Chennai Open tennis tournament to be held here from Dec 31 to Jan 6.
The field has an impressive line−up though Milos Raonic of Canada will not be defending his singles title. Besides Berdych, who played a lead role in the recent Davis Cup final win, the grid includes Janko Tipsarevic (No.9), twice winner Marin Cilic (15) and Stanislas Wawrinka (17).
Among the lesser known players are Benoit Paire (47), Robin Haase (56) Yen−Hsun Lu (60), making this year's singles draw one of the strongest−ever, claimed Tamil Nadu Tennis Association president MA. Alagappan at a Media conference here Thursday.
Devvarman, who spent his formative years in Chennai, has slipped 656 in rankings from an all−time high of 62, due to injury−forced absence from the pro tour, but received a wild card as expected and given his popularity locally.
Alagappan said: "Aircel Chennai Open, now in its 18th edition is undoubtedly South Asia's premier sports event. The tournament has been growing in popularity every year and this year's confirmation from four of the top 20 players Berdych, Tipsarevic, Cilic and Wawrinka is a testimony to it."