The 2016 International Premier Tennis League, announced earlier this week, will see one of the tournament’s three legs this season based out of India, with Hyderabad playing host to some of tennis’ top stars, who will play each other in a truncated, quick format.
Former No. 1s Roger Federer and Serena Williams have both been confirmed to participate in the event, with former top ranked player Marat Safin also in the lineup; here’s a look at some great matchups we would love to see:
Roger Federer (Indian Aces) vs Marat Safin (Japan Warriors)
Both are former World No. 1 players, albeit with varying levels of success. Roger Federer’s inclusion in the IPTL 2016 lineup surprised many, especially considering the Swiss ace is in a long-term period of recuperation following a long, hard-fought run at Wimbledon this year.
He famously said he would be on an extended rest period to be back in full form in the 2017 season, and would return to play at the 2017 Rogers Cup in early January, but it has now been announced that Federer will be playing with his original IPTL team, the Indian Aces, after spending 2015 with the UAE Royals.
Federer and Russian ace Safin have a long rivalry – one that extends to 12 matches over their careers – and to say that it is slanted in Federer’s favour is an understatement. The Swiss has won 10 of those, with Safin’s last win over Federer over a decade ago – at the semi-finals of the 2005 Australian Open. Even that victory had been a laboured one for Safin, who struggled to beat Federer in five sets.
But of all the players here, it is Safin who could possibly challenge the great Swiss. Federer has beat the Russian across every playable surface, and therefore will have the upper hand here.
However, it remains to be seen how many ties Federer will play this season, given he played only a single tie – against Rafael Nadal last year.