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Tennis gods descend on town

Tennis gods descend on town
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Besides being a mouthwatering treat for the “fortunate” fans to see the legends in action, the heavy duty line-up in New Delhi has the potential to give a big push to the IPTL, which already has announced its plans to add two more cities to the existing four in 2015.

“There’s a lot of buzz around the fact that the likes of Roger, Novak and Sampras will play in Delhi. They too are very excited about coming to India. Manila was amazing, Singapore was good too, now I hope the fans welcome players with open arms,” IPTL founder Mahesh Bhupathi said after the conclusion of the Singapore leg.

The former India player also confirmed Federer will only be available for the India leg of IPTL and won’t travel to Dubai for the fourth and final round from December 11-13. Federer, who first visited India in 2006 for a UNICEF program, has already shown enough excitement for his tennis debut in a country where he enjoys a huge following.

The Swiss great may not play on all three days of the competition or not get enough time to explore India but he found an interesting way to engage with his legion of fans. The record 17-time Grand Slam champion took to Twitter, asking his followers to photoshop him around India and in return he was “entertained” with some “hilarious” suggestions. One follower posted a morphed image of Federer enjoying an autorickshaw ride in Delhi.

“It won’t be my first time in India, but it’ll be my first time to play tennis, and that moment you walk onto the court or into the stadium, that’s why I play tennis. I’m going to India for that feeling, playing tennis, showing what I can do, bringing over my personality, sharing the fun and all that with the people, and how are the people going to react. And obviously I’m going to meet a ton of people, get a sense for how it is locally there. It’s going to be crazy, but I’m prepared for that,” Federer was quoted as saying by CNN recently.

Amid the frenzy around the arrival of Federer, Sampras and Djokovic, it is easy to miss the fact that many more multiple major winners, both past and present, will also take to the court. To name a few, Jo Wilfried Tsonga, Lleyton Hewitt, Patrick Rafter, Tomas Berdych, Carlos Moya, Ana Ivanovic, will all be in India. Not to forget the two local players in the competition, Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna, who will be playing for Indian Aces alongside none other than Federer and Sampras.

A dampener would be the absence of Andre Agassi, ruling out the prospect of an Agassi-Sampras showdown to go with the much awaited Federer-Djokovic face-off.
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