Pune welcomed Gilles Simon as the singles champion of the maiden edition of the India’s only ATP recognized tournament. The tournament was formerly known as the Chennai Open and was shifted from Chennai to Pune on grounds of lack of government funds and corporate sponsorships in Chennai.
The Frenchmen witnessed a stupendous start to the calendar year 2018 by winning the first tournament of the ATP World Tour 250 series. Simon defeated South African Kevin Andersen 7-6(4), 6-2 in the finals of Maharashtra Open. This is the first time he has overcome the second seeded Andersen, after losing thrice in their previous meetings. Although he won the finals without much effort, his road to the finals wasn’t a cakewalk. He took out each of the Top 3 seeds in the course of the tournament, beating defending champion and third seed Roberto Bautista Agut (World No. 20), top seed Marin Cilic (World No. 6) and Anderson (World No. 14) in the second, the semi-final and in the championship match respectively. He had chance to be a double winner at the Maharashtara Open as he teamed up with countryman Pierre-Hugues Herbert for the doubles final, but sadly wasn’t able to replicate his singles performance and finished as the runners up of the Doubles tournament.
The former world No.6 had a torrid 2017 season, with his ATP World rank witnessing a constant decline from 25 at the start to 89. The decline forced him to take remedial measures as he decided to continue his future tennis journey without a proper coach and support staff. His choice bore fruit as he is now the champion of an ATP tournament in the first week of 2018 and has stormed back into the ATP World top 60.
The champion praised the organizer of the Maharashtra Open for successfully carrying out such a big sporting event without any major technical or other small faults. He also lauded the extremely enthusiastic crowd at the the Balewadi Stadium, Pune.