New Delhi: Some of the world's top tennis names have arrived here for the third leg of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) but the hectic scheduling of the inaugural event has put paid to their plans of exploring India and its diverse culture.
Barring a few big names, current and former stars like Ana Ivanovic, Carlos Moya, Gael Monfils, Goran Ivanisevic and Fabrice Santoro landed here at 2 pm local time on Friday after getting done with the Singapore leg last night.
"I would love to explore Delhi but I don't know how that would be possible. We just arrived here and have a match tomorrow. Let's see if I can get some time. I would especially love to see the Taj Mahal if it is nearby," said former world number one Moya, who has played tour events in India in the past.
Moya is a player-cum-coach with Manila Mavericks, one of the four teams in the IPTL.
Another great Ivanisevic called the schedule tough on the players before saying "it is what it is".
"It is tough but it is the same for all teams. I am looking forward my time in Delhi. Also, it will be nice to see Pete (Sampras) after a while. It is always good to see him," said the former Wimbledon champion and a Sampras contemporary. Ivanisevic is part of the UAE Royals.
Sampras and Pete Sampras will be arriving here tomorrow and are scheduled to play on Sunday and Monday.
UAE coach John-Laffnie de Jager said they would love to explore the city but it seems unlikely considering the schedule.
"It is the first time in Delhi for most of us. We would like to be out there but it is tough. We arrived here little while ago and play our first match at 4 pm tomorrow. That means we have to reach the venue at 1 pm. The night matches finish late so everyone is tiring. As it is, the intensity on the court takes a toll on the players. The matches are getting closer as the tournament progresses," said de Jager.
Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world and that is a major concern for most foreigners.
Asked the players about what they thought about the pollution in the city, none of them responded barring world number 5 Ivanovic.
"Well I am just happy to see a sunny day," said the Serbian, drawing laughter from the crowd.
Also part of the interaction was India's very own Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna.