'I feel Chennai is a lucky hunting ground for me, and will help me achieve my immediate goal. I think it will be a great way to begin 2017.'
World number six Marin Cilic will be the biggest international star in the singles field at the upcoming Chennai Open, the only ATP 250 tournament in India.
The 2014 US Open champion confirmed his entry for India's premium event at the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) Tennis Stadium in Nungambakkam from January 2.
"I am so happy to announce on the day that I have broken into the top six that I am coming back to India to play in front of adoring Chennai fans," Cilic, the two-time Chennai Open champion, said in a press release, on Sunday.
The 28-year-old star has been one of the mainstays at the Chennai Open ever he made his first appearance in 2008. He annexed the trophy in 2009 and 2010, and will be eager to make it a grand treble at one of his favourite tennis destinations.
"I hope to break into the top five, and the top three, this year. I feel Chennai is a lucky hunting ground for me, and will help me achieve my immediate goal. I think it will be a great way to begin 2017," Cilic said.
Cilic has been in tremendous form this year, winning titles at Cincinnati Masters in August and the coveted Swiss Indoor title in October. He has enjoyed wins over current World No. 1 Andy Murray, Serbian superstar Novak Djokovic and Japanese Kei Nishikori.
M A Alagappan, TNTA President said, "I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Tamil Nadu Government for their continued support to our tournament. It’s an honour for us that Cilic is coming back to the Aircel Chennai Open. He has been in great form and will bring an extra edge to the competition."
Image: Marin Cilic
Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images