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The IPTL 2015 promises to be bigger and better

659   //    20 Aug 2015, 13:32 IST
Mahesh Bhupathi (left) during the IPTL press conference earlier this month

The IPTL 2015 is finally here! The match between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer was a massive success in 2014 drawing huge crowds. Now, last year’s IPTL teams- Philippine Mavericks, Indian Aces, UAE Royals and Singapore Slammers - are returning for another chance at the title. But, this year, it gets even bigger, with Japan Warriors joining in the competitive melee and more players eager to battle it out.

The new team on the IPTL 2015 block, the Japan Warriors, have much to prove. But, they’re giving it their best shot with Japanese star player and last year’s US Open finalist, Kei Nishikori and former World No.1 Maria Sharapova, heading the squad.

Defending their IPTL 2015 title, the Indian Aces are now helmed by former World No.1 Rafael Nadal, who missed out last year due to injury. As fans like to point out, there is nothing quite as intimidating as an in-form Nadal, with his impressive topspin and two-handed backhand. Returning to the squad are Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna, hoping to repeat last year’s incredible doubles run. This year’s other new addition is Agnieszka Radwanska,a subtle force on court who will be backed by Mirza’s powerful groundstrokes.

Last year’s disappointed IPTL finalists, Singapore Slammers are back with and determined to win with a daunting line-up headed by current World No.1, Novak Djokovic. Djokovic, indubitably the best player in the world right now, can comfortably defeat most players in the league with his aggressive baseline play and one of the best backhands in the game. Nick Kyrgios, one of the rising stars of the tour with an even bigger serve, returns and is joined by veteran Spaniard, Carlos Moya.

The Manila Mavericks return with a new name and a roster of big stars. The Philippine Mavericks, as they are now known, are led by Serena Williams, the reigning World No.1 and arguably the most consistent player at the moment, male or female. It is hard to imagine any player in the league able to defeat her in the Women’s Singles matches. The vastly underrated, but talented, Frenchmen Jo- Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet, head the men’s lineup along with veteran Mark Philippousis.

The final IPTL 2015 team, UAE Royals, has one of the most impressively star- studded lineups with Roger Federer leading the squad. He is joined by current US Open champion, Marin Cilic; the talented and increasingly confident Tomas Berdych; and veteran Grand Slam winner, Goran Ivanisevic. Ana Ivanovic, who returns to the International Premier Tennis League after changing teams, and Kristina Mladenovic, a Grand Slam mixed doubles champion with teammate Daniel Nestor, are the female players to watch for.

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