New Delhi: He is enjoying the International Premier Tennis League experience so far but reigning US Open champion and world number nine Marin Cilic on Monday said that the star-studded event can improve some of its rules for the next edition.
The IPTL, a franchise-based league covering six cities all over the world, has drawn criticism from none other than Roger Federer, who signed up to play for two days in the event for Indian Aces.
The multiple Grand Slam winner labelled it an exhibition tournament and criticised the rules saying some of them were not necessary at all. IPTL uses a time-restricted format. It has no ad-scoring, all matches are played on best of five format and each set played to six games with a five-minute shoot-out at 5-5. The most talked innovation is the 'Shot Clock', requiring a player to play a service point within 20 seconds of each other.
Federer was not particularly pleased by the time rules. Cilic, without elaborating too much, felt the rules can be tweaked next season. "Basically, this tournament is about breaking the regular rules. My point of view is that it can be better next year. Maybe we can have more time between points and get involved with the crowd. Right now, it's very fast. It is good and I am enjoying but there can be more time to interact with fans. I think it's more fun on TV," Cilic, who plays for the UAE Royals, told reporters here in a promotional event launch travel 'musafir.Com'.
Cilic's IPTL teammate and former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic echoed the sentiment. "It's quick, it's fun but it's serious at the same time. There were players who were skeptical about it when it started. I thought I will have fun but I realised players are very serious here. I don't get the time to joke around and have to be focussed all the time," he joked.
"It is not easy for me but I am surviving," he said, breaking into a laughter.
Ivanisevic also spoke about his famous rivalry with American legend Pete Sampras, against whom he would be seen in action at the IPTL. Ivanisevic has a 7-12 career head-to-head record against Sampras.
"That guy took a lot of years of my life. I would be happy if he lost to me," he said.
The quick-witted Croat also travelled down memory lane to recall his India trips for Davis Cup commitments in the late '80s and early '90s. He said India has a decent crop of tennis players.
"History of your tennis is good. There was Vijay (Amritraj), Leander (Paes), Mahesh (Bhupathi). Now you have Sania Mirza. The Indian history in tennis is good. A big country like India needs good tennis players. I hope kids play the game because of IPTL," he said.
Asked if the glitz and glamour of IPTL was distracting for him as a player, Ivanisevic joked, "When you play well, nothing matters. When you play badly, everything bothers you."