Much to the amazement and of tennis fans the Indian franchisee of the IPTL announced that 17 time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer will lead the Indian Aces in the inaugural edition of the tournament.
Indian consumer electronics company Micromax was also unveiled as the owners of the team.
The team had earlier signed Spanish star Rafael Nadal, who pulled out due to health reasons.
“As a tennis, I am excited to see Roger and Pete play for the same team, It’s unprecedented. I think Indian sports fans are in for a treat,’ said Mahesh Bhupati, former Indian player and founder of the IPTL.
In a televised message Federer said ” Namaste India. I am really looking forward to making my first trip to New Delhi and playing for the Micromax Indian Aces. My team tells me that there are a lot of tennis fans and my supporters in the region, so I hope you can come out and support me in December.”
The IPTL will be played across 4 countries and starts off from November 28, 2014 in Manila and move to Singapore before coming to New Delhi from December 6, 2014 to December 8, 2014.
The teams that feature the biggest current and former players will be playing for a total prize money of USD $ 1 million.
The Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi will host the India leg of the tournament. The other teams in the IPTL are UAE Royals, Manila Mavericks and the Singapore Slammers.
The IPTL has altered playing rules and scoring format to make the game more exciting. The traditional scoring formant has been changed to a single -set- no-add scoring one which enables the games to finish quicker. It will allow viewers to see up to 24 players in a day’s play and also determines a definite start and finish time for matches.
Each match consists of 5 sets that will be played by different players and every game won will count as one point for the team, the team that wins the most games wins the match. IPTL also introduced a ‘power point’ which can be availed once where the scoring for a particular point can be doubled.
A team is allowed to take one 60 second time-out during a single match. Unlike regular tennis the set will go into a seven point tie-breaker if either player is on five games-a-piece.
Speaking about his exit Rafael Nadal said ” I am very disappointed to announce that I will not be part of the 1st edition of the IPTL. I was looking forward to representing the Indian Aces and playing in from of fans in New Delhi in the exciting new league. I wish the team the very best and hope to be a part be back next year.”
When asked if Nadal will be part of the Indian Aces next season Founder Mahesh Bhupati said ” The draft for the next season happens next February, so the next season players will be decided only then.”
Indian Aces team: Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, Rohan Bopanna, Sania Mirza, Gael Monfils, Fabrice Santoro and Ana Ivanovic.