Pune, Jan 27 (PTI) Top-ranked Indian tennis player Ramkumar Ramanathan was on Thursday awarded a wildcard into the singles main draw of the Tata Open Maharashtra to be held at the Balewadi Stadium here from January 31 to February 6.

Ramkumar had won his maiden ATP Challenger title in Manama, Bahrain in November last year and regained his position in the top-200.

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In 2017, the lanky Indian had upstaged then world no 8 Dominic Thiem in straight sets during his first meeting with a top-10 player.

It will be Ramkumar's fourth appearance at South Asia's only ATP 250 tournament, organised by Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) and sponsored by the Tata Group.

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"It's always great to see Indians starting directly in the main draw and we are happy to give the first wildcard to Ramkumar. He has been doing well recently and is a popular face in the tournament. It's our commitment at this tournament to promote Indians and provide them a platform," Prashant Sutar, Tournament Director of Tata Open Maharashtra said in a statement.

The 27-year-old from Chennai will join compatriot Yuki Bhambri in the main draw.

"I'm extremely happy that tournament organisers are helping me to get into the main draw with a wildcard. The field is quite tough with a lot of good players and it's not going to be easy but I'm going to give my best efforts and hope to have a good run. It was very challenging to not have Tata Open Maharashtra and other tournaments in India last year," said an elated Ramkumar, who will arrive in the city on Friday.

"These events are good for Indians. Missing one year of Tata Open Maharashtra didn't feel that good but I'm happy that it came back now."

Apart from singles, Ramkumar will also be a part of the doubles main draw, partnering veteran Rohan Bopanna in the week-long event.

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