India's biggest tennis event of the year is a week away. And it's free for all - literally. Spain will be fielding a full-strength side for the Davis Cup tie against India from September 16-18, with Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez all part of the team, but fans won't have to pay to watch - entrance to the tie in New Delhi will be through free passes.
"Though there was an obvious scope to offer tickets at a price, we didn't want to deprive people of an opportunity to watch some great tennis. We'd rather have spectators at the stands than sell tickets," AITA secretary general Hiranmoy Chatterjee told ESPN.
The RK Khanna tennis stadium in New Delhi, the venue for the tie, boasts of a seating capacity of 5015, well above the 4000-seater minimum pre-requisite for hosting a World Group play-off tie. With matches slated to be played under floodlights, it could turn out be a packed affair.
Adding that though there have in the past been instances of Davis Cup tickets being offered at a price, Chatterjee said that in recent times it has largely been a free-for-all affair which the national federation did not deem appropriate to change just to make slightly better business sense.
India's lone marquee ATP event, Chennai Open, which staged its 21st edition in January this year, had its tickets pegged at a humble Rs 150- Rs 5000 range. World No 4 Stan Wawrinka, making his seventh appearance in the tournament, was the chief attraction and didn't disappoint. He walked away with the title for the third time in a row.
The well-heeled International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) on the other hand, which featured Nadal and Roger Federer among a host of other big-ticket names in its second edition last December, had its cheapest ticket priced at Rs 4000 with the expensive variant hovering around a whopping Rs 48000.