The first phase of IPTL tickets were sold out within 20 minutes of sale. This in itself epitomizes what the International Premier Tennis League has achieved till date.
Mahesh Bhupathi’s contrivance has not only become fashionable to the Indian sport fraternity but has also created a drive globally,thus creating a newly found love for tennis in the subcontinent. The idea was simple-Bhupathi said that the league would be modeled after the Indian Premier League which involves a league-type competition between city franchises in the country. The concept was simple-to introduce a new, short and more engrossing form of tennis.
Each match features five (5) sets:
- Men’s Singles
- Women’s Singles
- Mixed Doubles
- Men’s Doubles
- Men’s Legends Singles
The order of play is to be decided by the home team, and the team lineup is given to the umpire 45 minutes before the match starts and the team that wins the most games, accumulated from all five sets, wins the match. If a match is tied after five sets, the Super Shoot-out determines the match winner. Innovations involve a “Shot Clock” ,which manages time between two shots and can be set, stopped and re-started only by the Chair Umpire. The set of rules mark a more intensive and short-term sequence of play, thus keeping spectators intrigued for a major part of the game.
But,with all of the hype surrounding the IPTL and its inaugural season and this new brand of tennis in Asia, one should give proper respect to the original innovators of this kind of city-team tennis concept and that is World Team Tennis, created in 1973 :
City team franchises, the foundation of major pro sports in the United States, came to tennis with the establishment of World Team Tennis in 1973. The original league lasted five years, folding because of large financial losses after the 1978 season.A number of big names have participated in WTT over the past few years including, Andre Agassi, Lindsay Davenport, Monica Seles, Andy Roddick, Martina Navratilova and the Williams sisters.
The inaugural edition of the league features 17-time-major tournament champion Federer, 18-time major winner and current world No. 1 Serena Williams, current world No. 1 and seven-time major champion Djokovic and five-time major champion and former world No. 1 Sharapova headline the players competing in the inaugural season of the IPTL. The league also features past champions such as 14-time major champion Pete Sampras and career Golden Grand Slam winner Andre Agassi and other top current players including 2013 Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, 2014 Wimbledon finalist Genie Bouchard, 2010 Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych, and former world No. 1s Ana Ivanovic and Lleyton Hewitt among others.
IPTL started its inaugural season on 28 November 2014, with the Indian Aces defeating the Singapore Slammers, 26–16, in Pasay, Philippines with Rohan Bopanna serving for the inaugural point of the tournament. The matches to follow have been hard-fought and enticing.
As the IPTL enters into its second leg in New Delhi, the highly anticipated clashes and pulling spectators from far and wide to witness this spectacle. The fact that the subcontinent gets exposure to this quality of tennis is not only the most entertaining of experiences but also a transformation of the way in which Asian fans see tennis in itself.
The large crowds, incessant cheering and remarkable plaudits are what constitute the superiority this event has over other franchise-based junctures.