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Town on the ball, waits for stars
- Siliguri prepares for match

Siliguri, Nov. 27: Barring the delay in the arrival of the imported hardcourt, arrangements for the one-day Videocon Invitation Tennis Tournament seem to be on track.

To be played at the Siliguri Municipality indoor stadium on Wednesday, the tourney promises quality tennis for sports lovers of the town.

Tickets for the show featuring Sania Mirza, Mahesh Bhupathi, Shikha Uberoi and Rohan Bopanna have all but sold out, much to the delight of the organisers ' the Siliguri Stadium Committee.

'We have sold 80 per cent of the 3,500 tickets so far. The response to the donors' cards of Rs 1,000 denomination, too, has been very encouraging,' said Siliguri mayor Bikash Ghosh, who is the organising secretary of the tournament.

The indoor stadium at Deshbandhupara here can accommodate around 4,000 spectators. An imported Greenset hardcourt, similar to the one used for the Sunfeast Open at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Calcutta, will be laid out for the tournament.

'I am a little worried because of the late arrival of the court, which will take two days to be laid. I have been assured that it will arrive late this evening,' tournament director Jaidip Mukerjea said today.

Mukerjea, who runs the Himalayan Tennis Academy at Dagapur here, will have a few knocks with Shikha Uberoi on Tuesday evening to test the court, once it is laid. 'Have you seen the lights in the stadium' They are good, as good as those in Calcutta,' said Mukerjea.

The three-match tournament will begin with Bhupathi taking on Bopanna in the men's singles. This will be followed by the women's singles between Sania and Shikha, while the grand finale will be a mixed doubles match in which Bhupathi and Sania will meet Uberoi and Bopanna.

The organisers will also arrange for interactive sessions and music to keep the spectators engaged in between the matches. These sessions will educate the spectators in the basics of the game.

'Before every match, Sujoy Ghosh and Tejbir Bhandari (both former players who are coming here specially for the tournament) will explain the points system to the spectators and ask them questions. We will also play some soft music between the matches,' said Sharmin Mukerjea, Jaidip's wife, who will manage the sideshow.

All match officials for the tournament, including the umpires and linesmen, will be coming from Calcutta. However, the 17 ball boys and girls will all be reidents of the town.

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