This tournament has been India's largest tennis event since 1996. It was originally held in Delhi as the McDowell Open before moving to the SDAT Tennis Stadium in Chennai in 1997. This ATP event has attracted some of the best names in tennis circuit, including Boris Becker, Rafael Nadal and Carlos Moya. The tournament is played on hard court (PlayPave) and comprises two events - the Men's Singles and the Men's Doubles and carries a total prize money of $450,000.

The Men's Singles event has 28 players, which includes 3 wild cards and 4 qualifiers and the Men's Doubles event features 16 teams. The event is usually held in the first week of January and is recognized as the first ATP event of the calendar year.

Originally known as the McDowell Open, and then as the Gold Flake Open when moved to Chennai, and subsequently as the Tata Open and the Chennai Open, 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 and Murugappa Group under the Platinum category.