Britain’s two-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray will be one of the elite names to feature in the inaugural edition of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL). The IPL-style tennis league is a concept that is being planned in the off-season between November 28 and December 20 later this year.
Murray is the latest big name to sign up for this venture; the top two players in the world – current World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and World No. 2 Novak Djokovic - have already signed up for the tournament. Former champions Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi too have thrown their hats into the ring. Not just male players, top female stars Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka too have signalled their intentions to participate in this event.
The idea is the brainchild of Indian doubles ace Mahesh Bhupathi. The tournament will feature five matches of a set each in different formats – men’s singles, women’s singles, mixed doubles, men’s doubles and women’s doubles.
Czech Tomas Berdych also confirmed yesterday that he will be taking part in the event.
“It’s a very big and ambitious plan, it’s a good idea,” said Berdych, speaking on the sidelines of the Dubai Tennis Championships.
“It (is) something that can make our sport even more attractive and brings something extra to the players and all the people and all the fans around the world.”
“I’m looking forward to it. I’d be really glad to become the part of it. I like the new things, I like new ideas. So why not?”
The tournament will be contested by five teams based around the cities of Mumbai, Bangkok, Singapore, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur. Each team will play home and away ties.
Each team will have a salary cap of $10 million which can be used to buy six to 10 players. The draft for the IPTL is said to take place this coming Sunday in Dubai.
On the sidelines of the Dubai tournament, Federer repeated that he found the initiative interesting and that he hoped it would work, but wanted to wait and see how it unfolded before committing to it. All the Top 10 ATP have signalled their intentions of participating in the league except Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro.
Here’s the full list of players who have signed up for the event:
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Serena Williams, Stanislas Wawrinka, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.
Patrick Rafter, Mark Philipoussis, Michael Chang, Goran Ivanisevic, Fabrice Santoro, Rainer Schuettler, Carlos Moya and Juan Carlos Ferrero.
David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Agnieszka Radwanska.
Richard Gasquet, Milos Raonic, Tommy Haas, John Isner, Gael Monfils, Lleyton Hewitt, Ana Ivanovic, Samantha Stosur and Sloane Stephens.
Jerzy Janowicz, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Marcos Baghdatis, Fabio Fognini, Feliciano Lopez, Fernando Verdasco, Sara Errani, Jelena Jankovic, Angelique Kerber, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Martina Hingis, Daniela Hantuchova.
Kevin Anderson, Marinko Matosevic, Sam Querrey, Marcel Granollers, Dmitry Tursunov, Somdev Devvarman, Janko Tipsarevic, Rendy Ly, Sabine Lisicki, Kirsten Flipkens, Alizé Cornet, Kristina Mladenovic, Su-Wei Hsieh, Francesca Schiavone, Flavia Pennetta, Sania Mirza, Dona Vekic
Bruno Soares, Alexander Peya, Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, Marcin Matkowski, Marcelo Melo, Marc Lopez, Rohan Bopanna, Nenad Zimonjic, Marius Fyrstenberg, Daniel Nestor and Robert Lindstedt.