New Delhi: Indian tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi, who has launched his ambitious International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) with the backing of a galaxy of top stars, says his event would be TV, spectator and players friendly because of its unique model.
Super stars such as Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal and legends Andre Aggasi and Pete Sampras have promised to feature in the league, which is expected to begin in December 2014, prior to the Australian Open.
Modelled on the highly successful Indian Premier League cricket event, the IPTL, a Bhupathi-owned Globosport property, will feature the world`s best players representing franchises throughout Asia.
At least 9-10 cities including Singapore, Tokyo, Mumbai, Delhi, Hong Kong, Manila, Seoul, Dubai, Jakarta and Doha are in contention to buy six franchisees.
"We wanted a model which was TV friendly, spectator friendly and of course player friendly. The biggest complaint in tennis has been that you have no control over time of a match.
"You don`t know if Grand Slam final will be a two-hour match or a five-hour match. Here we are guaranteeing TV that it will be over in maximum of three hours, so all are excited," Bhupathi told PTI in an exclusive chat.
The league will have a 30-match schedule in its first year with home-and-away matches between each of the six franchises. Each team can have six to 10 players.
There will be five matches a night in one-set men`s singles, women`s singles, men`s doubles, mixed doubles and legends singles.
The players have often complained of long season which gives them little time for rest and recovery, but Bhupathi has managed to convince them to play in the league.
Asked how he could do it, Bhupathi said, "Tennis is an individual sport, so we don`t get to play team competitions except for Davis cup and fed Cup, so the players liked this concept of team event."