IPTL razzmatazz tempered by Phillip Hughes funeral

An emotional Lleyton Hewitt dedicated his International Premier Tennis League win to fellow Australian Phillip Hughes on Wednesday as the tragic cricketer`s funeral injected a sombre note into the glitzy event.

AFP| Updated: Dec 03, 2014, 22:25 PM IST
IPTL razzmatazz tempered by Phillip Hughes funeral

Singapore: An emotional Lleyton Hewitt dedicated his International Premier Tennis League win to fellow Australian Phillip Hughes on Wednesday as the tragic cricketer`s funeral injected a sombre note into the glitzy event.

Hewitt said he watched all of Wednesday`s memorial for Hughes, whose death in a freak accident while batting plunged Australia into mourning.

Hewitt`s doubles win with Nick Kyrgios helped their team, the Singapore Slammers, to their first victory of the fast-paced new IPTL against the previously undefeated Indian Aces.

But Hewitt, 33, said his thoughts were in Australia as the country ground to a standstill for Hughes` funeral in his hometown of Macksville.

"I sat and watched the whole funeral today -- it was one of the toughest things I`ve sat through," Hewitt told reporters in Singapore.

"I can`t speak how tough his family and friends are doing at the moment and the Australian cricket team but it`s really knocked the whole nation, not just the sport but the people in Australia as well.

"But this is when people have to come together, to come as one and I`ve been really proud of our country."

Serbia`s Ana Ivanovic, who has family in Melbourne, said she had also been affected by Hughes` death after he was struck by a cricket ball last week.

"It`s really sad to see. It makes you think a lot -- you would dedicate your life to your sport and live a healthy life and then something like that happens. It`s scary," she said.

On court, the atmosphere was very different as Tomas Berdych won a "super shoot-out" with Gael Monfils to give Singapore a thrilling 24-23 victory over the Aces.

Serena Williams beat Ivanovic 6-4 but Singapore had to overcome another loss from Andre Agassi, who banged a drinks cabinet with his racquet in frustration as he went down 6-2 to Fabrice Santoro.

Hewitt and Kyrgios won their doubles against Bopanna and Monfils on a shoot-out to level the tie at 23 games each, prompting the seven-minute super shoot-out which Berdych won 10-6.

"There`s no better feeling than that," said the Czech world number seven.

The innovative team event features no let serves or advantage points, a 20-second serve clock and a four-minute shoot-out at five games all as players contest a series of one-set matches.

The IPTL, which also features a DJ and dancers in what is a break away from the more traditional world of tennis, started in Manila last week and will also visit New Delhi and Dubai.