IPTL is an Asian property: Bhupathi
International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) cannot be called an Indian league, its founder managing director Mahesh Bhupathi clarified on Tuesday though the new competition has borrowed heavily from the cricket-based IPL, especially in the franchise business model. “This (IPTL) is not an Indian league, let’s be clear about it. Teams are from Japan, UAE, Singapore, Manila and India,” said the former Davis Cup doubles specialist on the sidelines of a media conference called to announce a host of new features - including brining a new team, Japan Warriors.
Bhupathi said India should consider itself lucky to have quite a few players featuring in the league, whose second edition is to be held from December 2-20. “India is one country which is fortunate to have many players involved. Singapore does not have one, UAE does not have one, Manila has one doubles players. In the context of property, it’s an Asian property,” said Bhupathi.
India would be represented in the league by world’s top-ranked woman doubles player Sania Mirza, Rohan Bopanna, who both will play for inaugural season winners Indian Aces, and veteran Leander Paes, who is to play for new team Japan Warriors.
Bhupathi announced at the conference that roping in of Spanish stalwart and multiple Grand Slam men’s singles winner, Rafael Nadal, into the league was “very exciting, from the league’s perspective. “He’s one of the biggest men’s stars in tennis.”
Bhupathi said the league has made one important change in its format by adding the final between the top two finishers at the round robin stage.
“The last two matches became inconsequential in Dubai (the last stop of the league in 2014). This year the top two teams play the final on the 20th after season gets over on the 19th (at Singapore).” Bhupathi said that this year IPTL, with Coca Cola as its title sponsors, would be shown live in 154 countries, including the Philippines for the first time on free to air TV.
“I was in Manila on Monday and for the first time in history in the Philippines they are putting tennis on free (to air) TV for the whole country to watch, because they know it’s not going to go past three hours.