After the International Premier League, Indian Badminton League, Pro Kabaddi League and Indian Super League, India now has a tennis league – International Premier Tennis League. Despite the launch of a rival league – Champions Tennis League, the IPTL appears to be the real deal in terms of promoters, sponsors and players. So here is our indispensable guide to the first edition of the the IPTL.
The International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) is the first city-based professional league in the world, played across four countries in Asia.
The first official draft for the IPTL was conducted on March 2, 2014 in Dubai.
Out of the 80 players participating in the draft, 28 of them were added to the four IPTL franchises – India, Singapore, Philippines and UAE.
The league will be held from November 28 to December 13 and has a total prize money budget of $ 29.7m.
Some of the big names taking part in the inaugural edition are Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. That's a whopping 21 Glam Slam Champions and 14 current and former world number ones.
The league is modelled on some of the most successful franchise-based sport leagues across various sports in the world. The league could be best described as an amalgamation of current champions, tennis legends and upcoming talents in a format that has never been attempted in the world of professional tennis.
The IPTL is a brainchild of one of India's most successful tennis players – Mahesh Bhupathi. The doubles specialist is a veteran on the ATP Tour circuit and enjoys a great rapport with most players across the globe. The 12-time doubles and mixed-doubles Grand Slam champion turned entrepreneur in 2002 when he founded Globosport Group of Companies.
Having won 52 ATP doubles titles, Bhupathi decided to take the plunge to launch the first of its kind tennis league after witnessing the successful implementation of the Indian Premier League (cricket) in 2008. He has since assembled an efficient team to help him launch and run the first edition of the IPTL.
Mahesh Bhupathi – Managing Director
Scott Davidoff – Executive Director & President - Player Relations
Morgan Menahem – Chief Executive Officer
Eric Gottschalk – Chief Operating Officer
Carlos Moya – Vice President - Player Relations
Ravishankar Pathanjali - Vice President - Business Development & Operations
Abhishek Ponia – General Manager - Operations
1. Manila Mavericks
Manila Mavericks represent Philippines in the IPTL.
Owner - Francis Lumen, CEO of All Youth Channels, Inc. (AYC)
Players – Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, Kirsten Flipkens, Daniel Nestor, Carlos Moya, Maria Sharapova, Treat Huey
Coach - Treat Huey
The Filipino-American doubles specialist will play the role of player-coach for the Mavericks. Huey has made it to three finals on the ATP World Tour. Huey's highest career doubles ranking has been 21. The 28-year-old is the highest ranked tennis player in Philippines and current ATP Doubles World No. 40.
2. Singapore Slammers
Singapore Slammers represent Singapore in the IPTL.
Owners - Sunil Gavaskar, Kishan Gehlot (Chairman - Intex Group), Shashi Shetty (Chairman – Avvashya Group and Ajay Sethi (Chairman - Channel 2)
Players – Serena Williams, Andre Agassi, Thomas Berdych, Lleyton Hewitt, Nick Kyrgios, Daniela Hantuchova, Bruno Soares, Patrick Rafter
Coach - Joshua Eagle
Joshua Eagle is an Australian professional tennis coach. He was instrumental in helping Aussie player Marinko Matosevic break into the top 50 from outside 200. In 2013, Eagle was appointed coach of Australia's Davis Cup team. The 41-year-old has five ATP doubles titles to his credit.
3. Indian Aces
Indian Aces represent India in the IPTL.
Owners – Micromax
Players – Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, Gael Monfils, Ana Ivanovic, Sania Mirza, Rohan Bopanna, Fabrice Santoro
Coach - Fabrice Santoro
Like Treat Huey for Manila Mavericks, France's Fabrice Santoro is player and coach for Indian Aces. Santoro is a veteran on the ATP Tour circuit and holds the record for being the only male player to have been part of Grand Slam singles competitions in four different decades. The 41-year-old has made 70 appearances in singles Grand Slam events, which is still a record on the tour.
4. UAE Royals
Owner - Sachin Gadoya (Co-founder and CEO – Musafir.com), Sawan Ravani, Rahul Saharia, Kausal Majithia, Chirag Vora and Kunal Bansal.
Players – Novak Djokovic, Caroline Wozniacki, Malek Jaziri, Nenad Zimonjic, Goran Ivanisevic, Eugenie Bouchard, Marin Cilic
Coach - John-Laffnie de Jager
John-Laffnie de Jager is the non-playing captain of South Africa's Davis Cup team. The 41-year-old is a former professional tennis player and was a doubles specialist. He is a three-time Grand Slam semi-finalist. Jager's three semi-final appearances have been at Wimbledon, Australian Open and US Open - each with a different partner.
All participating teams in the IPTL compete in 24 matches across 5 single-set matches in a Round-Robin format. The order of play is decided by the home team in host venue. When neutrals team compete, a coin toss will determine the order of play.
Each match is comprised of five sets:
1. Men's singles
2. Women's singles
3. Men's doubles
4. Mixed doubles
5. Past Champion singles
On winning a game, 1 point is added to the team's total game points. The team with most points at the end of the five single-set matches wins the match tie. Each single-set match is won when a team is the first to reach 6. If the score is 5-games-all, a 7-point Tiebreaker will decide the winner.
Special Competition Features
If the score reaches 5-games-all in any single-set match, winner is decided by a 7-point Tiebreaker.
2. Match Tie Winner
Four points are added to a team's tally on winning a match. If the team on the losing side accumulates more than 20 game points, they are awarded two points. However, if they accumulate more than 10 game points but fail to cross 20, one point is awarded. Failing to cross the 10-game point mark will earn the team zero points.
3. Power Point
Once in each single-set match, teams can call for a Power Point while on the receiver's side. On doing so, the next point played will count double. For instance, if a player is down 15-30, on winning the Power Point, he can get to 40-30.
If the score is tied after five single-set matches, a 7 point men's singles Shoot-out is played with the result counting as a game point won.
4. Final Match Importance
The last single-set match of every match tie is to be played until either of the following occurs:
The team that is leading in the match tie wins the fifth and final single-set match, or the team that is trailing wins the fifth match, and is still behind in overall games points won.
In such instances, the match is continued until either the trailing team has won enough games to equal the overall score. In this case, Shoot-out rule will be applied.
Or the leading team wins one game, and so wins the match tie.
5. League Winner
If two teams end up with the same points in the team standings, the team with the most match wins is declared winner with the following criteria, in this order:
Head to head standing
Number of games won
Number of games lost
Biggest games margin in any single match win
The IPTL will be played across four legs in four different countries.
1. Philippines: 28-30 November
2. Singapore: 2–4 December
3. India: 6-8 December
4. UAE: 11-13 December