This tournament has been India's largest tennis event since 1996. The event has attracted some of the best names in the tennis circuit since its inception and the number of repeat players bears testament to the popularity of the event.
The event has featured stars of the tennis world and some of the players to grace the courts here include Rafael Nadal, Boris Becker, Carlos Moya, Richard Krajicek, Patrick Rafter, Yvgeny Kafelnikov, Byron Black and India's own Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi.
The event was started in 1996 as the McDowell Open in Delhi. In 1997, it was moved to Chennai as the Gold Flake Open and the name was subsequently changed to the Tata Open in 2002 following a change in the title sponsor. From 2005-2009, the Chennai Open was co-sponsored by the Tamil Nadu Government. The event now has a new title sponsor - Aircel, and is called Aircel Chennai Open. Support for the event also comes from the Tamil Nadu Government along with a consortium consisting of Indian Bank, United India Insurance, Murugappa Group and Indian Overseas Bank under the Platinum category and Larsen & Toubro under the Gold category.