The International Premier Tennis League (IPTL), the brainchild of Indian tennis veteran Mahesh Bhupathi, came up with a blockbuster announcement today.
A good news for all Indian Federer fanatics as ‘Indian Aces’, the League’s Indian franchise will be spearheaded by Roger Federer, who is arguably the biggest name ever in the history of tennis.
The squad comprises marquee player Roger Federer, 14 time Grand Slam Champion Pete Sampras and the likes of the athletic Gael Monfils, the resurgent Ana Ivanovic, Indian tennis stars Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna, and the ever resilient Fabrice Santoro. Mallorca’s favourite son, the current number 2 seed Rafael Nadal, who was supposed to represent the team has been forced to withdraw on account of sustained injuries thereby making way for Federer to fill in his shoes. The Swiss maestro put forth a message for Indian fans: “Namaste India! I’m really looking forward to making my first trip to New Delhi and playing for the Micromax Indian Aces. My team tells me that there are a lot of tennis fans and my supporters in the region, so I hope you can come out and support me in December. See you there!”
Mahesh Bhupathi mentions: “I take this opportunity to welcome Micromax to the IPTL family as owners of the India franchise. I believe the time for innovation in tennis has come. This December, New Delhi will witness tennis action like never before – one that will change the way people enjoy the sport. As a tennis fan, I am excited to see Roger and Pete play for the same team, it’s unprecedented! I think Indian sports fans are in for a real treat.”
The Indian franchise will be in action in New Delhi during 6th-8th December 2014.
Co-founder of Micromax, Rahul Sharma, said, “I would like to congratulate Mahesh on this great initiative, and we are very excited to own the India franchise in IPTL. We are delighted to have the best names from the world of tennis with Roger Federer spearheading the challenge of Indian Aces. This partnership is part of our vision to bring India to the forefront of world class sporting events. Our long term intent is to bring a transformation for sports in India by developing world-class sports infrastructure in the country to encourage more youth to take up professional sport.”
Rafael Nadal who had earlier played on Indian turf (the Chennai Open) was a fair bit disappointed for missing out. Speaking about his exit, he said, “I am very disappointed to announce that I will not be part of the first edition of the IPTL. I was looking forward to representing Indian Aces and playing in front of fans in New Delhi in the exciting new League. I wish the team the very best and hope to be back next year.”
Some of the world’s biggest names will arrive in New Delhi to participate in the inaugural edition of the IPTL that promises to change the way the world experiences the top sport. The Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in the national capital will host the India leg of this prestigious event. The Stadium with its over 15,000 spectator seating capacity is the largest indoor sports arena in India and the third-largest in Asia. It has a tradition of hosting noteworthy sports events and is the ideal Indian venue for the IPTL.
The IPTL involves 4 teams in the inaugural outing, each with its own barrage of sporting greats. The Indian “Aces” will slug it out against the UAE “Royals”, Manila “Mavericks” and Singapore “Slammers” for a total prize money of USD 1 million. The IPTL format has been designed in a manner that will be very attractive to broadcasters and fans. The traditional scoring format has been changed to single-set no-add scoring which will speed up the games and allow the fans to up to 24 different players in one evening while the broadcasters for the first time, will be able to schedule predictable start and finish times of each match. Each match will consist of 5 sets played by different players (men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, mixed doubles and former Champions singles) and each game won counts as one point for the team points total – the team that wins the most games overall across the five sets wins the match.
Fans will see coaches calling for ‘time outs’ in the middle of a game, announcing a ‘power point’ and play a ’shoot out’ to decide the winners of each match while live entertainment, a running shot clock and many more features will ’Break the Code’ of the traditional etiquette of tennis to attract a new audience to the sport!