As you might have seen in the advertisements, International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) begins on 28th November, and with the Indian Aces team being part of it, there is the scope for improving the status of tennis in India, improving the number of fans as well as the media attention. But as far the quality of tennis in India is concerned, I have my doubts about it, as a league might not be something that works with this sport as much as it does with a team game. There is also no scope for young Indian players unlike in IPL or ISL.
Still there was the big twist about it, as Rafael Nadal withdrew from the Indian Aces citing injury, and Roger Federer replaced him, and it would surely mean a lot of more ticket sales. There is nothing like having Roger Federer playing in India for the first time. There is also Ana Ivanovic, and Pete Sampras who significantly boosts their respective categories. I would say that choosing Gael Monfils was also an interesting decision considering how much of a surprise he can keeping bringing up. It is our chance to cheer for India in tennis, and Micromax Indian Aces is a star team worth our applause.
But the challenge seems evenly adjusted for the teams from four nations across Asia. We have four teams with players of different styles and most of them having not played each other much at all. The result cannot be predicted that easily with five divisions of matches to be played. The matches of the past champions will be very much unpredictable, as it gives us an opportunity to watch splendour on the court. Then about mixed doubles, it is going to bring us lots of suprises.
We are introduced to some of the greatest names in tennis here; there are the current champions, the legends from the past, the surprise packages and the rising stars. Singapore Slammers got a strong women’s side with the power of Serena Williams, while UAE Royals is a balanced team with another strong women’s side – Eugenie Bouchard and Caroline Wozniacki in the same team? That calls for support.
I would consider Manila Mavericks as the weaker side there, but still having some power to surprise – having Andy Murray and Maria Sharapova guarantees that. This is not the usual tennis stuff that we might see here, and so our guess work might most probably won’t work at all. I would have loved to see Simona Halep and Agnieszka Radwanska playing in the tournament, but unfortunately, that is not to be.
The tournament happens for three days in each of these four nations. The points are won for the team by players winning matches – Men’s singles, Women’s singles, Men’s doubles, Mixed doubles and Past champions’ singles, and then by winning the tie, four points are added to the table. There is also the provision of two points or just one depending on the performace from the losing side. There will be tie-breakers at 5-5, and the action will be faster with less time taken between the points and sets.
There is also a seven point men’s shootout to be played in case of a tied score too. There is sixty second coaches time-out, there will be power-points which will count as double, and there are lots of other things. Yes, it has me somewhat confused about how it works beyond the tennis match – I care less about that though. Here, entertainment is surely guaranteed, and this is more like a great collection of incredible exhibition matches. It will surely bring something to Indian tennis as far as the number of fans are concerned, and it might be quite small, in my opinion. *All images are from the Facebook pages of respective tennis players.