The world of tennis will see a new competition where some of the biggest names in the game – both past legends and current heartthrobs – will fight it out for their respective franchises in the Indian Premier Tennis League (IPTL), arguably the biggest of all franchise-based tournaments.
Brainchild of famous Indian doubles player Mahesh Bhupathi, the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) will have four teams (franchises) based in four cities across Asia. These teams from Bangkok (Thailand), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Mumbai (India) and Singapore will compete for a total prize money of USD $ 1 million.
Here is a list of ten players to look out for in the inaugural edition of this super-tennis tournament:
1. Roger Federer, aged 33 (Micromax Indian Aces)
He is the winner of 17 Grand Slam singles titles. If that's not enough to describe him and his achievement, the current second ranked player from Switzerland is synonymous with pure class. Adjectives often fail to describe him. Simply put, no introductions required. Moreover, whether or not he is the greatest player in men's singles in the history of the game is worth discussing.
2. Novak Djokovic, aged 27 (UAE Royals)
If the Swiss maestro is all about purity and essence, the world number one is already considered one of the greatest players of all time at 27. The Serbian has many good years ahead of him to increase his tally of Majors and consolidate his stake on that claim. He has seven Majors to his name.
3. Serena Williams, aged 33 (Singapore Slammers)
How do you rate someone who has 18 Grand Slam singles titles? The greatest! Yes, she is already regarded as the greatest female tennis player ever. And keeping her competing at the greatest level is her hunger for more.
4. Maria Sharapova, aged 27 (Manila Mavericks)
One of the most gifted tennis players and, of course, a glamorous one. Heads turn everywhere, wherever she goes. The Russian tennis diva has won an equal amount of hearts to keep her legacy alive for a long, long time. The former world number (what number?) is a five-time Major winner, which includes a career-slam.
5. Caroline Wozniacki, aged 24 (UAE Royals)
Often regarded as the sunshine girl of tennis, Caroline Wozniacki is the first woman from a Scandinavian country to be ranked world number one. After the break-up of her engagement to golf star Rory McIlroy, the Dane has returned to top form. She played her second Major finals at Flushing Meadows this year.
6. Eugenie Bouchard, aged 20, (UAE Royals)
After turning pro in 2009, Eugenie Bouchard has taken a fast route to becoming a celebrity. The Canadian has impressed everyone with her flawless tennis and eugenics looks, which has often made her look more of a model than a tennis player.
7. Andy Murray, aged 27 (Manila Mavericks)
He is the hope of British and one part of the Big 4. Despite achieving limited success, Andy Murray is still one of the most recognisable and celebrated players of his generation. He has won two Majors, including a Big W at home – becoming the first British male to win the title in 77 long years since Fred Perry.
8. Pete Sampras, aged 43 (Micromax Indian Aces)
Not so long back, there was a generation of tennis players who captured everybody's imagination thanks to sheer subtlety and gentle nature. Pete Sampras was one such legend. The American also won 14 Major titles to elevate himself to the pantheon of tennis greats. His serve and volley approach is still a treat to watch.
9. Andre Agassi, aged 44 (Singapore Slammers)
He is often regarded the first real star of tennis, thanks to his on-court antics and more than acceptable (??) off-courts behaviour. But on the tennis court, his resilience is commendable as he fights for every point. Andre Agassi is one of the most complete, all-round players ever seen. He won eight Majors including a career-slam to the envy of many legends.
10. Sania Mirza, aged 28 (Micromax Indian Aces)
She is the original glamour girl of Indian sports. But more than that, she has helped the Indian women find a new identity. Any tennis event in India is incomplete without her. Besides the legends of Vijay Amritraj, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, she is the torch-bearer of tennis in this country.
The tournament, to be held in four legs, is scheduled between November 28 and December 20. With no major tennis tournaments in this period, IPTL will allow these top players to play without restraint. Besides, the tournament has adopted a new format so that players are not stressed beyond the limit, but still allowing them to give what they have in their arsenal.