In the end, the exhibition IPTL League is going forward.
As outlined here earlier in the week, though, it will be in limited cities and – most importantly for the fans – will lack most of its big-name stars.
The season will begin in Tokyo Dec. 2 for three days, move on to Singapore Dec. 6-8, and have its finale in Hyderabad India Deb. 9-11.
Canadians Genie Bouchard and Daniel Nestor will still be participating. Singapore (above) will eventually find Kiki Bertens.
Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray will not. Neither will Maria Sharapova or WTA Tour No. 1 Angelique Kerber. So as previously mentioned, the star power that made the league’s name and garnered it a lot of attention when it launched in 2014 is mostly gone, although Serena Williams will be on hand.
No word yet on how much Williams, or Japan’s Kei Nishikori, will actually play. But the highly-condensed format this year and the reduction in travel might help.
The Manila, Philippines team is no more. The New Delhi squad has been moved to Hyderabad with, it seems, a lot of support from the local government. The UAE Royals team still exists – but it will not play any home dates. Which is strange.
Here is a press-release quote from founder Mahesh Bhupathi, who will play on the Hyderabad squad.
“We are deeply grateful to our sponsors, partners, broadcasters and, in particular, the participating players for their deep belief in the potential the IPTL holds to deliver exceptional value to all stakeholders. This has significantly strengthened the IPTL proposition as well as our resolve to continue to grow this property for the benefit of this sport that I love.”
Here are the proposed rosters:
Japan Warriors: Kei Nishikori, Fernando Verdasco, Kurumi Nara, Jelena Jankovic, Fernando Gonzalez, Marat Safin. Jean-Julien Rojer.
UAE Royals: Tomas Berdych, Pablo Cuevas, Ana Ivanovic, Martina Hingis, Goran Ivanisevic, Thomas Johansson, Daniel Nestor.
OUE Singapore Slammers: Serena Williams, Nick Kyrgios, Marcos Baghdatis, Kiki Bertens, Carlos Moya, Rainer Schuettler, Marcelo Melo.
Indian Aces: Feliciano Lopez, Ivan Dodig, Eugenie Bouchard, Thomas Enqvist, Mark Philippoussis , Sania Mirza, Rohan Bopanna.
Hyderabad can’t find Feli, but they’ve still got Federer front and centre even if his name doesn’t appear on the roster.